Legal threat after holiday nightmare

A COUPLE are seeking compensation from a tour operator after they were struck down with an “horrific” stomach bug in the Dominican Republic.

Lizzie Parry

A COUPLE are seeking compensation from a tour operator after they were struck down with an “horrific” stomach bug in the Dominican Republic.

Jacqueline and James O'Sullivan, from Shotley, are taking legal action against First Choice following their illness while staying at the Ocean Sands Hotel.

Just three days into the trip, Mrs O'Sullivan started to show symptoms of stomach pains, sickness, and diarrhoea, confining her to their bedroom.

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The couple believe some coleslaw eaten by Mrs O'Sullivan at dinner in the hotel on the second evening may have played a part in the “nightmare” illness that ruined their break.

Mrs O'Sullivan, 52, said: “I enjoyed the coleslaw and so gave a bit to my husband to taste.

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“The next morning I started being sick and had really bad pains and my husband had a few stomach pains too but his cleared up that day.”

Desperate to be well enough to travel home, Mrs O'Sullivan visited the doctor the day before their return flight.

“I asked him to give me something to stop the symptoms to get home. I was admitted to hospital where I had drips put up, medication and they did some tests.”

Since returning home, Mrs O'Sullivan has experienced a number of medical complications resulting in numerous trips to the doctors.

“I have been back and forth to the doctors. They have said it is possible I caught viral hepatitis.

“It was a very stressful time, a complete nightmare. I have never been this ill before,” Mrs O'Sullivan added.

Mr and Mrs O'Sullivan are taking legal action against the tour operator, First Choice and could receive between £10,000 and £200,000 in compensation if they are successful.

Suki Chhokar, a partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said: “There is a duty of care on the part of the tour operator and part of that duty is to ensure health and hygiene conditions are of the highest standards. They also have a duty to ensure the hotel puts in place safety procedures.”

Gary Dickie from the Travel Law Team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said this was not the first case the firm had dealt with regarding the Ocean Sands Hotel.

“Unfortunately this is not the first time that Irwin Mitchell Solicitors have received complaints from holidaymakers who travelled to this hotel,” he said.

A spokesperson for First Choice said: “At First Choice, the health and safety of our customers is our primary concern.

“We would like to reassure our customers that every effort is taken to safeguard their health and wellbeing whilst abroad.

“First Choice closely monitors all the hotels to which it operates to ensure that the health, safety, hygiene and comfort levels our customers expect are maintained.

“In this instance, as the O'Sullivan's are pursuing legal action we are unable to comment further on this particular case to ensure that our comments do not interfere or influence any future legal proceedings.”

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