Families From Lincolnshire And Wolverhampton And Couple From Devon Among Those Affected By Holiday Illness
More than 80 holidaymakers have instructed specialist lawyers to investigate, after they were struck down with gastric illness during a stay at the Hotel Riu Palace, Santa Maria, in Sal, Cape Verde.
Those affected include a teacher from Wolverhampton, a couple from Devon and a self-employed beauty therapist from Lincolnshire, who doctors initially feared was suffering a stroke.
The holidaymakers all travelled to Cape Verde between May and October, after booking their holidays through tour operator TUI. Their symptoms included severe sickness and diarrhoea.
Upon returning to the UK, they instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their illness. They have questioned why they were allowed to stay at the five star hotel after others had already fallen ill.
Expert Opinion“We’re working with more than 80 people whose holidays were ruined by illness. Many of those continue to suffer from ongoing symptoms after returning to the UK.
“Gastric illness can lead to long term health issues and their effect should never be downplayed.
“Understandably, those we represent have many questions about how they fell ill, while many of the group have queried why they weren’t informed of illness at the hotel, before they arrived at the resort.
“We’re determined to establish the answers our clients deserve and to support all of them following what has been a terrible experience.
“If during the course of our investigations any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to ensure that other travellers aren’t left with ruined holidays and potential long-term illnesses.
“As part of our work and to assist with our investigations, we would be keen to hear from anyone else who may also have been affected by illness whilst staying at the Hotel Riu Palace, Santa Maria, Cape Verde.” Jennifer Hodgson, Associate Solicitor
Elizabeth Sutton, a beauty therapist, and her mum, Patricia Reid, who is retired, travelled to the Hotel Riu Palace, Santa Maria, in Cape Verde on 6 September for what was due to be a much anticipated week long luxury break in the sun.
Both Elizabeth and her mum reported a strong sulphur smell at the hotel. Her mother, who is asthmatic, began to suffer breathing difficulties during their stay. The hotel doctor advised Patricia to start taking her steroids and told her to use her inhaler more often than she usually needed.
After two days, Elizabeth, 46, began to suffer headaches, breathing difficulties and her eyes became sore and red. These symptoms were so severe that Elizabeth was admitted to hospital over concerns that she was having a stroke. She was treated and discharged with medication.
On 11 September, Elizabeth also began experiencing gastric symptoms, including severe sickness and diarrhoea and was re-admitted to hospital where she was placed on a drip. Following multiple injections and more medication, Elizabeth was again discharged.
Her symptoms have continued following her return to the UK and Elizabeth was forced to take time off work. She is still under the care of her GP and awaiting the results of further tests.
Elizabeth said: “This was supposed to be a wonderful holiday for me and mum, our first holiday together since the Covid Pandemic, and we booked a stay at a five star hotel expecting a bit of luxury and pampering. Instead the trip turned into the holiday from hell.
“The smell of sulphur in the room was overpowering. It was so bad that mum paid for us to move to a new hotel, but by that stage I was already ill. The food at the hotel also appeared to be left for long periods of time uncovered, allowing exposure to flies and there were cats and birds in and around the hotel.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it and when I went into hospital for the second time, I was really scared.
“We feel that the hotel, food and facilities were a complete let down and since returning I’ve heard from more than 130 people on Facebook, some of whom were there prior to us, who say that they had similar experiences.
“I’m angry that I’m still living with the symptoms, but I also feel lucky to have got home in one piece. I feel we all deserve some answers over what happened, especially as it sounds like others fell ill before we stayed there. It’s the least we deserve after what turned into an expensive medical nightmare.”
Hannah Smith and partner, Oliver Dean, from Perton, Wolverhampton, were on a week’s holiday at Riu Palace between 13 and 20 August.
They were having the break away during the school holiday, due to Hannah’s work as a teacher. They had always wanted to see Cape Verde and were looking forward to a relaxing holiday.
By the evening of 18 August, Hannah, 28, had begun suffering with gastric symptoms, which were so severe that she required medical attention. She was seen by the Hotel Doctor during the early hours of 19 August and was administered an anti-sickness injection and rehydration salts. Hannah was so ill that they could not go on the island tour that they hoped to book for the end of the holiday. Her symptoms continued following her return home, ruining what was left of her summer holiday before the new school term started.
Oliver, 27, an IT technician, fell ill on 20 August, just as they were preparing to come home. The sickness and diarrhoea were so severe that Oliver also had to be given treatment and anti-sickness injections by the hotel doctor.
Hannah said: “The holiday was such a disappointment. Our symptoms were so bad that we had no choice but to see the doctor in resort and I continued to feel ill for weeks afterwards.
“It only really hit Oliver hard at the end of the holiday and, by that point, neither of us was in a fit state to help the other. The flight home was unbelievably difficult and Oliver was so ill, he had to take more time off work when we got back.
“To be that ill on holiday is the last thing you expect, particularly at what is billed as a five star hotel.
“I now wish we’d never booked the holiday, but I think the least we can expect is an explanation of what went wrong and some assurance that other people aren’t going through the terrible experience that we did.”
Nichola Morley, 52, from Paignton and her partner Darren Cartwright, 57, from Torquay travelled to the Riu Palace on 10 May for a two-week break to celebrate Darren’s recovery from cancer.
By the following afternoon, freelance writer Nichola had fallen ill with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. She told her legal team that she also began vomiting blood a few days later, and was complaining of joint pain.
Darren, a car garage owner, began to suffer similar symptoms on 12 May after returning from a diving lesson.
After eight to nine days of not eating, Nichola said she collapsed. The couple attended hospital abroad, where Nichola was put on a drip.
Following their return home to the UK on 25 May, Nichola went to see a GP. She was placed on a course of antibiotics and spent three weeks at home recovering.
Nichola said: “We had been looking forward to our holiday for quite some time, but within a day I was really unwell.
“Darren fell ill the following day, and he even began hallucinating. We called reception a number of times for help and to ask for a doctor but no-one came.
“We ended up taking ourselves to hospital and were both put on a drip. By this point, we were both so weak as we hadn’t eaten for several days.
“On the last day of our trip, we thought it would be a good idea to try and eat a little bit to keep our strength up for the journey home. When we got there, the salad was covered in flies. I grabbed a bit of bread and small piece of turkey, but when I cut it open it was pink and raw inside.
“This was only a few days after I had complained about bloody chicken and I couldn’t believe it was still happening. It’s no wonder people were ill.
“When we got home, I spent around three weeks at home, mostly in bed recovering. I really wish we had never booked the holiday, it turned into a total nightmare. All we can hope for now is some answers; it’s the least we deserve.”
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