Dad-Of-Two Diagnosed With Rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome After Cyprus Trip
Lawyers have issued proceedings in the High Court after a Middlesbrough man has struggled to walk again after falling ill on holiday.
Former fireman Charles Jackson, 69, from Stainton, suffered gastric symptoms, including diarrhoea and fatigue, during a trip to Cyprus. During the holiday, which was booked through tour operator RSD Travel Ltd, Charles and his wife Julie, 68, stayed at the Sea Life Hotel in Farmagusta before moving on to the Bellapais Monastery Village.
Following the couple’s return to the UK in December 2018, Dad-of-two Charles saw his GP. He underwent tests and was found to be suffering from both campylobacter and E.coli.
Shortly afterwards, Charles began to lose the use of his legs and was admitted to James Cook Hospital where he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome – a rare condition that affects the nerves and can lead to permanent paralysis, pain, and difficulty swallowing and breathing.
He spent 10 weeks in hospital. He instructed international serious injury and holiday illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his illness and secure him the specialist support and therapies he requires.
The legal experts, who have vast experience of representing holidaymakers affected by illness, have now issued proceedings in the High Court.
Expert Opinion“Guillain-Barré syndrome can emerge following a bacterial infection and can cause anything from numbness to muscle weakness. In very severe cases like this one, it can even cause long-term, or permanent, paralysis.
The past few years have been incredibly difficult for Charles and Julie. What happened to them highlights the seriousness of gastric illness and why the effects should never be downplayed.
Charles has faced the most challenging period of his life and understandably continues to have many questions regarding what he’s been through. While Charles and Julie would rather not be in this position, they feel they’ve no option but to take legal action to help them obtain the answers they deserve, and to ensure Charles has access to any future treatment he needs to make the most of life.
We call on RSD Travel Ltd to work with us to help resolve this case. In the meantime, we’ll continue to support Charles and Julie however we can.”
Clare Pearson - Legal Executive & Associate
The couple’s holiday to Cyprus began on 1 December, 2018, with the plan to explore the cultural sights of Northern Cyprus. However, Charles fell ill towards the end of the holiday with diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
After being diagnosed with campylobacter and E.coli on his return home, retired fireman Charles began to feel tingling in his legs and feet. He then started to lose feeling in them, before collapsing in his bathroom. He was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was told he had Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Charles still finds it hard to walk, even for a short distance, without help so is now much more reliant on his scooter. He finds it hard to go the gym and visit his family.
Charles said: “When I fell ill on holiday, Julie and I thought it might just be a 24 hour bug, but it continued even when I was home so I thought it best to see my GP. It was such a shock to find out after I had collapsed that I had campylobacter and E.coli, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
“I started to feel pins and needles in my feet and legs which worried me, and when I began to lose sensation completely I knew something was very wrong. It got to the point where my legs didn’t even feel like a part of me anymore.
“Being told I had Guillain-Barre syndrome was a huge blow as it was something that I had never even heard of before then.
“The whole experience has been a complete nightmare and, even more than three years on, what happened continues to have a huge impact on me. I’ve spent the last few years working hard to improve the movement in my legs, but there’s a long way to go.
“We still don’t have the answers as to how this happened to me, so we have now had to take legal action. This is a path we really didn’t want to take, but we need to know how this terrible illness developed. We also hope that it might prevent others from suffering like I have.”
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare autoimmune condition affecting the peripheral nervous system. Often triggered by a viral or bacterial infection such as flu or food poisoning, it causes the nerves in the arms and legs to become inflamed and stop working, usually leading to temporary paralysis which may last from a few days to many months, and in some people it can be permanent.
An estimated 1,300 people (one to two people per 100,000) are affected by GBS annually in the UK. About 80 per cent will make a good recovery, but between five and 10 per cent of people will not survive, and 10-15 per cent may experience long term residual effects ranging from limited mobility or dexterity, to life-long dependency on a wheelchair.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling international serious injury and holiday illness cases