Susan Sankey (55) and her husband Nigel (47), from Towcester in Northamptonshire, are taking legal action against Thomas Cook after their dream holiday to Tunisia in June 2008 was ruined when they were struck with a gastric illness.
Mrs Sankey was taken ill with diarrhoea and stomach cramps shortly after arriving at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Tunisia. She visited the resort doctor who said that she would need to be administered injections twice a day for the next four days, but her condition worsened and she was admitted to hospital for six days, during which she was placed on several drips and had various tests including an endoscopy.
Mrs Sankey commented "It was an awful experience". Mr Sankey also fell victim to this illness towards the end of his holiday.
Mr and Mrs Sankey only ate from the hotel during their stay and said "The food in the restaurant was not covered and was sometimes served cold, when it should have been hot. There were also huge numbers of flies around the food and we often saw birds in the restaurant."
Mrs Sankey continued "I believe that my illness had to be caused by something I ate or drank at the hotel. The restaurant was generally dirty and the hygiene levels were not of an acceptable standard."
She comments "When I got home I rang Thomas Cook to report the problems. The person I spoke to told me that it is normal to get ill on holiday. I am totally disgusted by this response. By refusing to take responsibility, the hotel will not improve its hygiene standards and other people are likely to suffer in the future."
On her return home Mrs Sankey has suffered with continuing symptoms and was unable to return to work for several weeks.
Vindika Jasinghe from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who is representing Mrs Sankey said "This has been a very upsetting and traumatising experience for my client. Mrs Sankey travelled to Tunisia to have a relaxing holiday and was in fact hospitalised for six days. This could have been avoided if the correct health and hygiene procedures had been in place at the hotel. Tour Operators need to take more responsibility.
"This is not the first time that we have represented families who have become ill during their holidays at the Sahara Beach Hotel. We currently act for a family who fell last summer and also 2 families who fell ill during 2006. We have also been successful in recovering compensation for more than 30 people who became ill during their stays at this hotel in 1997."