Youngster Died After Stay at Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort and Spa
The devastated family of a two-year-old girl who died after she contracted a serious bacterial infection following a holiday to Turkey have instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers to investigate what happened.
Allie Brenda Birchall from Atherton, in Manchester, was admitted to hospital with stomach cramps, bloody diarrhoea, lethargy and a loss of appetite shortly after returning from a 10-day break at the Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort and Spa with her mum Katie Dawson and family in July.
She was diagnosed with Shiga-Toxin producing E.Coli (STEC) on 2 August and died the following day after developing Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) which is a known complication of STEC. HUS is a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects the blood and blood vessels, resulting in the destruction of blood platelets. It can also cause kidney failure and brain damage.
Following Allie’s death, her distraught mum Katie has instructed Irwin Mitchell’s expert international serious injury team to investigate whether Allie’s illness was linked to her stay at the Turkish resort.
The firm has vast experience of dealing with cases relating to serious illnesses such as E.coli in the UK and abroad, including representing almost 50 holidaymakers following an alleged outbreak of E.coli at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Egypt last year, and successfully concluding a 6-figure claim for a young boy in 2016 who also tested positive for E.Coli after he developed similar symptoms to Allie.
Katie told her legal team that the family were aware of several other holidaymakers who were also ill with similar symptoms. Public Health England is currently investigating the matter, and an inquest has been opened to examine the circumstances surrounding Allie’s death.
Expert Opinion“Allie’s family are understandably heartbroken at the loss of their lovely little girl and are struggling to come to terms with what happened.
Through our work we are sadly only too aware of the potentially devastating consequences of serious illnesses such as STEC and E.coli, particularly for children, which are only highlighted by Allie’s sad death.
This is every parent’s worst nightmare and we are supporting Katie and her family through this difficult time and are now investigating how Allie contracted her illness.
As part of our investigations, we are looking into the family’s stay at the Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort and Spa and if any issues are identified, we hope that measures will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”
Jatinder Paul - Senior Associate Solicitor
Allie and her family travelled to Turkey with tour operator Jet2 Holidays on 12 July. During the course of the holiday, all members of the family suffered from gastric symptoms including stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
Allie first began to show signs of being unwell on 27 July with symptoms of stomach cramps, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and lethargy. Allie’s condition worsened and blood was found in her stools.
Allie was seen by an out-of-hours GP, but as she got worse she was admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital where various tests were carried out. It was confirmed that Allie had contracted STEC and this also led to her developing HUS.
Allie was moved to the Manchester Royal Infirmary and put in an induced coma on 1 August. An MRI scan was carried out, which revealed that she had sustained severe brain trauma and damage. Katie had to make the difficult decision to terminate Allie’s life support following the advice from doctors.
Allie sadly passed away on 3 August.
Katie, a self-employed window cleaner, said: “Allie was such a beautiful, happy girl and we are all utterly heartbroken. We still can’t believe she is gone.
“Allie was an intelligent, beautiful and independent little lady. She was always giving kisses and cuddles at home, and always wanted to be sat on someone’s knee or to be picked up and carried around.
“Allie loved baking, playing with her dolls, playing nurse and she was always sticking plasters on us and our dogs. I bought her a nurse’s outfit and doctor’s bag full of equipment for her birthday but she never got to see them. Allie also loved watching Peppa Pig and singing nursery rhymes.
“There is now a massive hole in our home and our hearts. We all miss her dearly. She should not have died. She had so much to give.
“While nothing will bring her back, we need to know what caused her illness and if anything could have been done to prevent it.
“We all suffered gastric illness and there were a number of people complaining of being unwell during our stay at the hotel, but we didn’t anticipate how serious it could be.”
Katie revealed that the family had concerns over the hygiene at the Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort and Spa.
She added: “Food was sometimes left uncovered and occasionally served lukewarm, and there were birds occasionally flying around the food.
“We saw faeces in the swimming pool and I spoke to other holidaymakers who saw the faeces in the pool on more than one occasion, and staff just scooped it out without closing the pool or giving it a thorough clean.
“The walls in the children’s toilets were also smeared with faeces. It was disgusting.
“We are aware that the matter is now being investigated by our solicitors and, even though nothing will ease the pain we feel since losing Allie, we hope that we get the answers we need. We wouldn’t want any other family suffering the way we are.
“In sharing Allie’s story, we want to make people more aware of the signs and symptoms of STEC HUS. I keep thinking that if I had known about the condition, then I would have probably taken Allie to hospital sooner and it wouldn’t have ended the way it did.”
Symptoms of STEC HUS include:
- Urinating less often, passing smaller amounts or sometimes not urinating at all
- Feeling weak and tired
- Looking pale – occasionally there are tiny pink or purple spots on the skin
- Oedema (swelling of the body), especially around the eyes or legs and feet
- Fever, but not in all cases
Find out more on Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling holiday illness cases