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Shigella Victim Receives £286,500 After Tour Operator Admits Liability

Costa Caribe Hotel illness


A man still plagued by symptoms after he contracted Shigella whilst honeymooning in Venezuela has received £286,500 after tour operator First Choice admitted liability for his illness.

Julian Hurley, aged 50, from Armthorpe in Doncaster instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to pursue a claim on his behalf after the holiday left him hospitalised for five days and in need of intravenous drugs and antibiotics.

Mr Hurley and his wife Jayne were staying at the Costa Caribe Hotel as part of a package with First Choice Holidays & Flights Limited, when Mr Hurley fell ill in August 2004. Unable to seek medical advice whilst abroad he was immediately admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on his return home where he was diagnosed with the potentially fatal condition.

The illness has had a lasting effect on the couple, as Mr Hurley now suffers from irritable bowl syndrome, post traumatic stress, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Mr and Mrs Hurley described the experience as hellish and were specifically concerned about the food available at the hotel. 

Mr Hurley said: “When we went to the hotel restaurant I tried a variety of different dishes which included cooked meats. The food was of an extremely poor standard. A lot of the dishes were undercooked, and some of them were almost cold. It was an all inclusive package and we had not taken much money with us, so we had little option but to eat what was offered.

“The impact that this hellish holiday has had on our lives has been devastating. I now struggle to walk long distances and find myself getting tired easily. I am still suffering from symptoms to this day and will do for the rest of my life which has been very difficult to come to terms with.

“I also had to reduce the number of hours I could go to work and to this day I have not returned to my pre-holiday working pattern. This has impacted on my relationship with my wife as instead of me being the main breadwinner, she is. She now has to look after me rather than the other way around.

“I am delighted with the settlement that Irwin Mitchell was able to achieve for me. It will allow me and Jayne to close this awful chapter in our lives and start looking to the future.”

Elizabeth Tetzner, International Travel Law specialist at Irwin Mitchell, welcomed the settlement and said: “My clients have been through enough.  Their honeymoon was ruined and Mr Hurley will suffer symptoms for the rest of his life.  This settlement will hopefully go some way to helping them put this behind them and move on with their lives.

“It is a tour operator’s responsibility to ensure that standards of hygiene are maintained in the hotels they choose to send holidaymakers to, so that other people do not have to suffer as Mr Hurley has.”