An idyllic holiday turned into a health nightmare for a couple when they were struck down with salmonella poisoning at a luxury resort.
Paul Gallagher, 45, and his wife Lesley, 48, were looking forward to a sun-soaked break in Sinemorets, Bulgaria, but their joy was short-lived when they both fell ill.
Three days into their stay, the pair suffered extreme vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating and stomach cramps in September last year.
Paul, a HGV driver, revealed how he spent the remainder of the week-long holiday going to the toilet FORTY times a day.
The pair, from East Kilbride, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, claim food was left out for hours which attracted flies and the pool was dirty at the four-star Bella Vista Beach Club, where they had paid £620 for an all-inclusive stay.
Back home, Paul’s stools tested positive for salmonella – which is usually caused by eating contaminated food. Lesley was suspected of having the same. The couple are now seeking compensation.
Paul and Lisa Gallagher spent almost their entire holiday struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea
Paul says the sickness completely ruined the holiday. He said: ‘We could barely leave the hotel room. It was awful.
‘My wife was really bad first. She didn’t know which end to put in the toilet. We’d had a bit of a drink the night before – as you do on holiday – so I just thought it was that at first. Then a few hours later, I had to go straight to the bathroom and didn’t really leave until we had to fly home.
‘I was going up to 40 times a day right up to the rime I flew back to the UK.’
Paul said when they arrived at the hotel, travel reps told them there was a gastro illness going around, but didn’t take any further appropriate action.
He claims the breakfast in the all-you-can-eat restaurant was left sitting out from 6am until 10am, with flies and wasps crawling all over the food.
‘It was just sitting there for hours,’ he said. ‘But we were all inclusive so we didn’t really have a lot of choice.’
Paul also claims the pool was ‘dirty’ and the tiles around the swimming areas were cracked.
Paul says he told staff at the hotel about his illness and they asked if he wanted to see a doctor.
But he says medical staff wanted him to pay cash upfront, rather than arrange treatment through his travel insurance, so he declined.
On their last day, Paul says he was too ill to leave the hotel room by 4pm as required and the hotel charged him a full night’s fee of £40 to stay a few hours extra.
He then faced a ‘nightmare’ two-and-a-half hour coach journey to the airport with no toilet.
Paul has claimed hygiene standards were poor at the hotel
Paul said: ‘When you’re that poorly you just want to be at home in bed.
‘A friend who we were with is a nurse and told them I was too ill to be moved.
‘They eventually let me stay in there but I couldn’t believe they charged me for it.
On the coach I had to take two packets of Imodium to get me through it – and even then I had to make the bus stop. It was pretty horrible.’
As Paul delivers food to the catering trade for work, he was forced to take nine days off until he was completely clear of symptoms, and was visited by an environmental health officer. He lost £690 in earnings.
The couple are now seeking compensation from travel operator Thomson.
Paul said: ‘I lost nine days of work and didn’t get paid, which was more than the holiday cost.’
‘Many of these cases include people who have been struck down with gastro-bugs and suffer from violent vomiting and diarrhoea lasting days and in some cases weeks.
‘Food poisoning can always be avoided and that is why it is important the highest food and hygiene standards are maintained.’
A spokesperson for Thomson said: ‘We’re sorry to hear of the Mr and Mrs Gallagher’s holiday experience.
‘As we understand this matter is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.
‘We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all accommodations we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.’
Holiday Sickness Claims offers a free, no obligation review of your holiday and the sickness you have encountered and have a large panel of specialist solicitors who represent Holiday Sickness claimants on a No Win No Fee service.
Visit www.holidaysicknessclaims.co.uk or free call 0800-8-654321
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