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Man Airlifted From Cruise Ship After Contracting Legionnaires' Disease Receives Settlement

Expert Travel Lawyers Irwin Mitchell Secure Settlement For Man ‘Lucky To Be Alive’ After Cruise Ship Illness


A retired couple whose cruise was ruined when one of them was airlifted to hospital after contracting Legionnaires’ disease have received an out-of-court five-figure settlement from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Limited.

Frank Standen, 84, from Tunbridge Wells, says he is “lucky to be alive” after his nightmare experience on a cruise on the MS Black Watch with his wife, Patricia, 83.

The ship sailed from Southampton to the Cape Verde Islands in November 2011 but just days into the cruise Frank began to suffer with headaches, a high temperature and tiredness and he became increasingly unwell as the cruise went on.

He visited doctors on the ship and was prescribed antibiotics, but by the time the cruise reached Cape Verde his symptoms had worsened and he was taken to a hospital for a chest x-ray.

Frank returned to the ship after the x-ray, but continued to suffer severe symptoms and was airlifted from the ship by helicopter and taken to hospital in Las Palmas where he was admitted to intensive care and was unconscious for three weeks.

Tests confirmed he was suffering with Legionnaires’ disease, a very serious lung infection, which is usually caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with legionella bacteria.

He spent seven weeks in hospital in Las Palmas before being transferred to Sevenoaks Hospital in the UK, where he spent a further five weeks.

The couple instructed expert travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of the illness suffered while travelling on-board the Fred Olsen operated cruise. Now Irwin Mitchell has secured Frank and Patricia an undisclosed out-of-court settlement just days before the case was due to go to trial.

Clare Pearson, an expert international personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the couple, said:

Expert Opinion
“This was an extremely traumatic and worrying experience for Frank and Patricia and the last thing they would ever have expected when booking a cruise was to have one of them fall so ill that they need to be airlifted by helicopter to hospital.

“Legionnaires’ disease is an extremely serious disease and can, in some cases, lead to fatalities. We are delighted to have secured Frank and Patricia a settlement from Fred Olsen Cruises but it is disappointing that the cruise operator denied liability and waited until just before the case was due to go to trial to agree to settle.

“Hopefully the couple can now put this horrendous ordeal behind them and look forward to the future.”
Clare Pearson, Associate

Frank, a former insurance broker, said: “I feel really lucky to be alive but the whole experience of the cruise, being airlifted from the ship and spending so much time in hospital was absolutely dreadful and really shook me up.

“Myself and Patricia did not get to enjoy our cruise and instead of being at home with my family over Christmas I was in hospital in a foreign country. The whole experience has been absolutely terrible for all of us.

“I’m delighted that we have now received a settlement from Fred Olsen and we’re looking forward to putting this behind us and moving on with our lives.”

Patricia said: “It was absolutely terrifying to see Frank so ill on the cruise and rushed into intensive care in Las Palmas. Thankfully he pulled through, but I will never forget how scared all of the family was when he was in hospital."

If you have fallen ill whilst on a cruise ship, our accident and illness abroad claims team could help you to secure compensation. See our Cruise Illness Claims page for more information.

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