Elderly Woman Died After Hotel Sent Her On 350-mile Taxi Ride Home When She Fell Ill

Norma Francis was suffering will severe gastric illness and died later in hospital

19.08.2016

Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

The family of an elderly woman who died after a hotel sent her home by taxi when she fell ill with severe gastric illness related symptoms, have instructed specialist public health lawyers to investigate her stay.

Norma Francis lost consciousness after the 350-mile journey from Loch Achray Hotel in the Trossachs, Scotland to her home in Gnosall, Stafford, and died later in hospital.

The 79-year-old’s family has instructed expert public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her stay at Loch Achray Hotel, booked through tour operator Lochs and Glens Holidays Limited.

The law firm is now investigating why the hotel appears to have disregarded guidelines from NHS Health Scotland, which advises those suffering from the illness to stay indoors and away from others until 48 hours after their symptoms cease.

Anne Francis, Norma’s daughter, said: “I feel like the hotel couldn’t wait to get rid of her despite the fact that she clearly wasn’t well enough to travel.

“We’re devastated that we have lost her and that her last days were so distressing. We just want to know why the decision to send her home was made and whether anything could have been done to prevent her death.

“I don’t want anyone else being put in the same dreadful position as my mum was.”

Norma and husband John, 81, arrived at Loch Achray Hotel by coach on April 3, this year. But two days later, she began to suffer with symptoms of gastric illness, gradually growing worse throughout the day.

John has told lawyers at Irwin Mitchell that the hotel manager informed them staff were arranging a taxi to take them the 350-mile journey home, despite his concern for his wife’s health.

The couple left the hotel on the afternoon of April 6, with Norma sleeping for much of the journey. But when they arrived home, Norma could not be roused from her sleep and an ambulance was called. Paramedics arrived and immediately began CPR on the mother-of-two who never regained consciousness. She died at County Hospital in Stafford on April 6.

A post mortem examination revealed that Norma had contracted norovirus. The circumstances of her death are being investigated and an inquest into Norma’s death will be held at South Staffordshire Coroner’s Court on October 13 this year.

Expert Opinion
“Norma and John booked their seven-day stay at Loch Achray Hotel to enjoy a relaxing break, never imagining it could have ended in such tragedy.

“Now Norma’s family just want to know if anything could have been done differently to prevent her death and whether there are any lessons to be learned which may prevent what happened to Norma happening to anyone else.”
Clare Comiskey, Associate

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Hotel Illness Claims.