Leicestershire Family’s Spanish Holiday ‘Ruined’ By Illness

Experts at Irwin Mitchell Instructed To Investigate Conditions At Hotasa Hotel Samoa

17.11.2015

A family whose holiday was ‘ruined’ when members were struck down by symptoms of food poisoning, has asked travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell to launch an investigation on their behalf.

Zoe Shields, 31, and her husband Andrew, 46, from Leicestershire, flew out to the three-star Hotasa Hotel Samoa in Majorca, Spain on 8th October 2015, with children Kaitlin, Hannah, Joshua and Oliver, expecting a relaxing family break.

To their horror within days of arriving Oliver, 7, and Hannah, 11, began suffering from the symptoms of gastric illness, including diarrhoea, abdominal pains, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and lethargy.

Hannah suffered to such an extent that she required hospital treatment in Majorca, where she was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and treated with medication.

Zoe, who was around five months pregnant at the time of the holiday, also began feeling queasy and generally unwell. Zoe’s eldest daughter Kaitlin was struck down with nausea and abdominal pains.

Zoe told lawyers that during their stay, at the three-star hotel, she had strong suspicions that the some of the food served in the restaurant was being reused in later meals during the day.

She also observed that sometimes new food was being added to existing food in the restaurant. Zoe reported to lawyers that on many occasions the food served was lukewarm or appeared undercooked, for example the chicken nuggets, sausages and beef burgers. She also observed flies around the snack bar where food was often served.

The couple has now instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the conditions at the hotel and how members of the family came to suffer with illness on their family holiday, booked through tour operator Thomas Cook.

Jennifer Mullins, a specialist lawyer within the International Personal Injury team at Irwin Mitchell, representing the family, said:

Expert Opinion
“It is very disturbing to hear a first-hand account of a story like Zoe and Andrew’s, especially when there are young children involved.

“Not only would it have been traumatic for the children suffering with these symptoms, but it would have been deeply concerning for their parents, in particular Zoe, who was pregnant at the time and also feeling unwell herself.

“The fact that two of the children, Hannah and Oliver, were still displaying symptoms upon their return to the UK in October shows that illnesses like this should not be underestimated, as we have seen many cases where people have developed long-term health problems as a result of issues of this nature.

“We will make sure that a thorough investigation takes place to ensure Zoe and Andrew get the answers they deserve regarding how members of their family came to be ill, as well as investigating anything which can be done to improve health and hygiene standards at the Hotel and prevent others from being affected in the future.

“We remain very keen to hear from anyone else affected who may be able to provide further information regarding the problems the family experienced and the circumstances giving rise to it.”
Jennifer Mullins, Solicitor

The family, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, were so concerned that poor levels of hygiene in the hotel restaurant had caused their illness that they moved hotels after the first week of their holiday.

They reported to Irwin Mitchell that other guests at the resort were also suffering from gastric illness.

Mum-of-four, Zoe, said the family were originally due to go to Tunisia in October but due to the problems there, their holiday to this destination was cancelled.

She added: “This was supposed to be a fun and relaxing family break. Instead the majority of us ended up being unwell.

“We were really worried about the level of hygiene in the hotel restaurant and want to know if that could have caused members of my family to fall ill.

“As a mother it is always a huge worry when one of your children is poorly, let alone three of them. Hannah even ended up in hospital which was upsetting and stressful, especially as we were in unfamiliar surroundings.

“We want to make sure that lessons are learned to help prevent anyone else going through what we did.”