A British woman is taking legal action against a travel company after she was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease following illness whilst on holiday in Sardinia.
58 year old Patricia Pybus, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, spent nine weeks in intensive care following her return to the UK after staying at the four-star Hotel Pulicinu last August.
Less than a week into the luxury break with her husband, Mrs Pybus contracted what she thought was sunstroke. However, her condition soon deteriorated and she began to experience diarrhoea, headaches, nausea and stomach cramps. Mrs Pybus also developed chest pains and a persistent cough as the holiday continued, as well as feeling lethargic and feverish.
The holidaymaker, who booked the trip through Manchester-based Travel Counsellors, claims that their room at the hotel smelled stale and looked as though it had not been inhabited for weeks.
Mrs Pybus also claims that the air conditioning unit in her hotel room was constantly leaking water and covered in rust, and that the showers were old.
Nine weeks in ICU
Once the couple returned to the UK, Mrs Pybus went to Friarige Hospital in Northallerton and was admitted to an intensive care unit. It was there that doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia caused by Legionella pneumophila, or Legionnaires’ disease.
Mrs Pybus spent nine weeks in total in the intensive care unit after being heavily sedated for the first fortnight and undergoing a tracheotomy.
Now back at home, Mrs Pybus claims she has difficulty simply walking upstairs as she suffers from shortness of breath, leaving her unable to work and having to depend on her husband for day to day tasks.
Mrs Pybus said:
“At first we just thought it was a simple case of sunstroke but it became clear very quickly that things were much worse than that.
“I have lost months of my life from being in intensive care, not to mention the distress and anxiety my family were put through, not knowing if I could ever come round from it.
“We have been to hell and back as a result of my illness and I want to do everything possible to prevent anyone else going through the same experience which we have been through.”
A spokesperson for Travel Counsellors released the following statement:
“This is an ongoing claim and so it is inappropriate to comment further at this time, but the health and welfare of our customers is of paramount importance to us and we work closely with our hotel suppliers to achieve the highest safety standards.”
According to the NHS Choices website, ‘Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria’. Symptoms echo that of the flu, with sufferers experiencing muscle pain, headaches, tiredness, chills, fever and even changes to an individual’s mental state.
Legionella bacteria is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water in rivers, lakes, ponds and even artificial water supply systems including air conditioning units. Once the lungs are infected with this bacteria, patients may suffer from symptoms of pneumonia, including shortness of breath and chest pains, as well as a persistent cough.
The NHS website goes on to say that symptoms usually take around six to seven days to symptoms to show, however this can vary by anything from two to nineteen days.
Holiday Illness Claims – Expert Advice
Shiamli Mehta-Cronie, Travel Law expert here at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, said:
“Reports of Mrs Pybus’s illness are alarming and cause for concern. It is vital that tour operators be held accountable for the failings basic hygiene standards of their hotel providers. If you have fallen victim to poor hygiene standards while on a package holiday, contact us today to find out whether you are eligible to claim.”
For more information as to whether or not you are able to claim compensation following illness whilst on an all-inclusive package holiday, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today for free and friendly, no obligation advice on 0800 888 6888 or email
Source: Mail Online; NHS Choices