Mother And Daughter Airlifted Home After ‘Holiday From Hell’ In Egypt

Irwin Mitchell Investigating Injuries And Illness At Smartline Colour Beach Hotel


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A mother and daughter, who were airlifted home to Scotland after suffering serious illness and injuries while on holiday in Egypt, have instructed expert international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the hygiene and safety standards at the Smartline Colour Beach Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt.

Ruth Stacey-Kerr, 59, from Fife, travelled to the three-star hotel, with her daughter, for a relaxing two-week break in August 2015. They had originally booked to go to Tunisia in June but due to the problems there, their holiday to this destination was cancelled and they had to change their travel plans.

Their holiday to Egypt turned into nine weeks of misery after both of them suffered serious gastric illness and also went on to suffer a broken tibia and fractured sacrum. This meant that they were not able to fly home until 31 October 2015.

They have now instructed expert international personal injury lawyers, who have represented thousands of holidaymakers following illness and injuries sustained after holidaying abroad, to investigate the hygiene and safety standards at the hotel.

Both Ruth and her daughter suffered diarrhoea, vomiting and severe stomach pains in the first week of their holiday. They have told their legal team that hygiene standards at the hotel were not what they expected and that they saw that some of the food served in the hotel restaurant was undercooked.

They also complained that the food which they were served was rarely piping hot and the food sometimes appeared to have been re-served during later meals. They also saw many flies in the hotel restaurant and Ruth and her daughter reported that they would have to keep swatting them away from their food.

Ruth and her daughter were also bitten by bed bugs in their hotel room during the first week of their holiday and Ruth was given an injection to reduce the symptoms. Upon removing the bed sheets they were horrified to find that the pillows had blood stains and the sheets had, what they thought, urine stains on them.  

During the second week of their holiday, Ruth, a former nurse, was bitten as she relaxed by the hotel’s sandy beach lagoon, which caused swelling around her foot, and she was admitted to hospital as a result.

She was treated with intravenous antibiotics and was eventually discharged after seven days, which meant she and her daughter missed their flight back to Scotland.

Just over a week later Ruth was re-admitted to hospital and again spent three days in the hospital due to problems with her ankle, while her daughter remained at the Smartline Colour Beach Hotel. Ruth was finally issued with a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate on 2 October, three weeks after she was originally due to fly home.

However, when she got to the airport it was discovered she was suffering with high blood pressure and a high temperature, which prevented her and her daughter flying home. They returned to the hotel and shortly after their return Ruth was admitted to hospital once again, due to high blood pressure and acute bronchitis.

After a further stay in the hospital she was discharged back to the hotel on 9 October and was told to return to the hospital on 11 and 12 October to receive a second ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate. On the morning she was due to attend the hospital, Ruth reported that she slipped on wet marble steps at the hotel, falling backwards and banging her head. She also suffered a fractured tibia in the fall.

Following the fall Ruth was again not permitted to fly back to the UK and was re-admitted to hospital for a further five days. After her discharge she was asked to return to hospital to have a plaster cast fitted to her right leg on 23 October in the hope of flying home to the UK.

Ruth told her legal team at Irwin Mitchell that her daughter also suffered a fall in their hotel room on 25 October, when rain water seeped into the room during a downpour. She suffered painful injuries to the base of her spine in the fall and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

Eventually, on 31 October, the pair were flown home by air ambulance to Scotland where her daughter was admitted directly to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy and they continue to suffer with the gastric problems they experienced during their stay at the hotel as well as the issues relating to their injuries.

Amandeep Dhillon, a Partner and expert international personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Ruth and her daughter, said:

Expert Opinion
“The illness and injuries that Ruth and her daughter suffered during their holiday at the Smartline Colour Beach hotel are extremely concerning and we have seen cases where these kinds of issues have sadly had a long-term impact on those affected.

“It is worrying to hear of the concerns regarding the hygiene standards within the restaurant and in their hotel room, and also that they knew of other guests who were suffering the same symptoms during their stay.

“We are now investigating the health and safety standards at the hotel and whether more could have been done to prevent the illness and injuries suffered, which have understandably had a huge impact upon both Ruth and her daughter.

“We remain keen to hear from anyone else affected who may be able to provide further information regarding the problems that Ruth and her daughter experienced at the hotel, and help us with our investigations.

“Hopefully, our investigations will help provide them with the answers they want about their holiday experience and ensure others do not have to endure the same terrible ordeal.”
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner

Ruth said: “This is the worst holiday we have ever been on. Between the two of us we were admitted to hospital a total of five times and had to be airlifted home in the end after my daughter suffered painful injuries to her spine following the fall in our hotel room due to the wet floor. Even to this day my daughter is having problems with pain and a lack of mobility and is continuing to have treatment for this.”

“Needless to say we never expected in a million years that we would be stuck in Egypt for so long. We felt completely abandoned by Thomas Cook and our insurers, as it felt like a constant battle on a daily basis, and felt that nobody was trying to help us although we were in desperate need of it.”

“Hopefully, by taking legal action we will get answers about what happened to us, why we fell ill and suffered injuries, and why we were treated in the way we were. I can only hope this will lead to changes to ensure nobody else has to go through the terrible ordeal that we did.”