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Man Calls On Lawyers After Developing Legionnaires' Disease Following Skiing Break

Holiday To Mark Wife’s 40th Birthday ‘Will Be Remembered For Wrong Reasons’


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A man who needed hospital treatment and time off work after he developed Legionnaires’ disease following a skiing holiday has called on specialist lawyers to help him gain answers regarding the illness.

Robert Forbes, from Milton Keynes, had arranged the week-long stay at the Hotel Bellevue in Obergurgl in Austria as part of celebrations for his wife Ilona 40th birthday.

However, the 53-year-old was left ‘devastated’ when the symptoms he started to experience towards the end of the holiday in January developed into symptoms including diarrhoea, shortness of breath, confusion and fatigue days after the family returned home.

Following a trip to a walk-in centre, samples were taken and it was confirmed that he tested positive for Legionella. The illness proved so severe that he required nearly two weeks of treatment in Milton Keynes University Hospital and he also had to have time off from his job as an engineering manager.

Robert, of Monkston, has now instructed Irwin Mitchell’s specialist International Personal Injury team to investigate the problems he faced and determine whether they could be linked to his holiday. The legal experts have vast experience of supporting people who have suffered illness at resorts across the globe and helping them gain justice regarding such problems.

Expert Opinion
“Robert is understandably upset and frustrated by the illness issues he faced following his break.

“A case of this nature really puts a spotlight on the massive impact that holiday illness problems can have, with Robert not only requiring time in hospital but also needing weeks off work. He is still struggling to come to terms with the illness he has suffered and is yet to make a full recovery.

“Through our work we are sadly all too aware of the devastating consequences of Legionnaires’ disease and there are strict guidelines in place to help control the development of the bacteria that causes the disease.

“We are now investigating how Robert fell ill and are determined to help him obtain answers regarding how the problems emerged.”
Clare Pearson, Legal Executive - Associate

Robert’s stay at the four-star Hotel Bellevue with Ilona and their four-year-old daughter, Leyla, was booked through Crystal Ski holidays - a trading name of TUI UK Ltd - and started on 12 January. After a week of being on holiday the family returned home on 19 January.

Robert began to suffer from more severe symptoms the following day.

He visited his GP a few days later before then attending a walk-in health centre and finally being admitted to hospital for treatment.

He recalled: “I tried to struggle on but I kept getting worse so I went to the doctors and was given antibiotics for a chest infection. However, these didn’t really seem to be working and I kept getting worse so I dragged myself to a walk-in centre.

“I was completely devastated when I was told I had tested positive for Legionella and would need to spend time in hospital. I couldn’t believe it.

“Having to spend time in hospital was awful and the whole experience is something that you simply never expect after going on holiday. This was supposed to be a special break to celebrate my wife, Ilona’s birthday, yet now we’re bound to only remember it for all of the wrong reasons.

“It is hugely worrying that this has happened and I just want to know why it did. I also hope that by taking this step lessons can be learned so no one else has to face what I have.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria and it is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling holiday illness claims.