Settlement After Dominican Republic Resort 'Bed Bug' Rash Left A Young Woman Battling A Skin Condition

Airport Worker Suffering From Long Term Symptoms After Holiday Nightmare

07.07.2015

A woman who continues to suffer from a skin condition four years after developing a severe rash, believed to have been caused by bed bugs, during a holiday in the Dominican Republic has secured a five-figure settlement following her ordeal with the help of specialist lawyers.

Both Jessica Mann and her then-partner Aaron Rigby required medical treatment for the rashes they developed during their fortnight stay at the Sirensis Cocotal Hotel in Punta Cana in May 2011, with Aaron developing the rash only days into their holiday.  On return home Jessica needed a month off work to recover from the severe blistering which she continued to endure on her return to the UK.

The rashes, which their medical expert has subsequently indicated were caused by bed bugs, have led to a worsening of a skin condition that Jessica had before the holiday known as Pompholyx, which leaves the skin on her hands and feet sensitive, peeling and dry.

Now, specialist holiday illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured Jessica and Aaron settlements from Thomas Cook despite the Tour operator denying liability. Jessica has revealed her frustration at the pain and discomfort the skin condition has caused and she is seeking to raise awareness of the issues bed bugs can cause.

Clare Pearson, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell who represents the holidaymakers, said:  

Expert Opinion
“This is a terrible situation in which our clients have developed extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing conditions during what was meant to be a relaxing holiday.

“Sadly such cases are not uncommon and while nothing can be done to reverse the problems Jessica and Aaron have faced, we hope that the settlements will go some way towards helping them to take steps to put these issues behind them.

“Their story is an important reminder that everything possible should be done to ensure the safety of holidaymakers always comes first.”
Clare Pearson, Associate

Both Jessica, 24, from Manchester, and Aaron, 34, from Stockport, developed the rash – in the form of large, red irritating blisters which burst – during their holiday at the Sirensis Cocotal Hotel. Both sought advice from the site’s doctor, and Aaron was given medication to treat the rash.

On their return to the UK, the couple went to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport for further support and were prescribed painkillers, steroids and creams to tackle their symptoms. Both of them suffered acute symptoms for three months and while Aaron made a full recovery Jessica has had much longer term symptoms and even now continues to suffer from sensitive, flaky dry skin.

Jessica, who works as an aircraft co-ordinator at Manchester Airport, recalls: “I had never been on a long-haul holiday and the trip was supposed to be a special break for both of us. Instead, the problems we suffered made it a very frightening experience and I just wanted to get home.

“It was not just the rash that spoiled the holiday, there were lots of other things wrong with the hotel. There were lots of insects in our hotel room and the fridge and lights in our first hotel room were not working properly.

“When Aaron and I complained to both the Thomas Cook Representative and the staff at the hotel they did not seem to take our complaints very seriously and at times it felt like I was spending more time complaining than I was enjoying the holiday.

“When you go on holiday you just never expect in a million years to suffer these issues and now I have no choice but to live with my condition which seems to have been made worse by the holiday, which is immensely frustrating. This was supposed to be a memorable break but looking back now, I just wish we’d never gone.

“Nothing can change what has happened but, after securing this settlement, we now just want to put this ordeal behind us and move on.”