A party of British holidaymakers who fell ill while on a package holiday to the Dominican Republic is to take legal action against tour operator Thomson Holidays.
The Daily Mail reports that nine people out of the party of ten fell ill with sickness and diarrhoea – and two men in the party were hospitalised in Punta Cana as a result.
Retired fireman Dirk Ord from Seaton Delaval in Northumberland spent two days in hospital on a drip with his friend, Stephen Robson. Both men – and Mr Ord’s son, Owen, now aged nine – still suffer from post infective irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The party travelled to the Dominican Republic in September 2012 to celebrate Mr Robson’s first wedding anniversary with his wife, Susan. They stayed at the four-star Dreams Resort and Spa in Punta Cana, after booking the package holiday with Thomson.
Mr Robson – from Lowestoft in Suffolk – developed holiday gastroenteritis six days into the holiday, experiencing symptoms inclduing chills and fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.
He was taken by ambulance to hospital – and one-by-one all except one person in the party fell ill with the same symptoms. Most were treated by the hotel doctor – but Mr Ord ended up being taken to hospital, also.
“At one point, I was so ill I didn't think I'd make it through – it was scary,” said Mr Ord.
“Before the trip, I was quite chubby and happy with it. Since then I have lost four or five stones.
“Owen is just a young lad who has been badly affected by what's happened.”
Mr Ord said his young son was now scared to use the lavatory because the effects of the illness were so distressing and had developed a phobia about it.
“I’ve had to change my life,” he said. “ I can't have a Chinese meal or anything spicy.
“Owen has been affected mentally by what happened. He's forever washing his hands.
‘When I got back, I was still a fireman – and it was embarrassing how, when travelling in the appliance, once I had to ask it to stop to go the toilet.”
The only member of the party not to fall ill was Mr Ord’s partner, Vanessa Bailey.
The group alleges flies were allowed to access food on the buffet at the hotel – and leftover food was mixed with fresh food. Food was also served lukewarm – or was not chilled sufficiently, the group say. They allege that meat on the buffet was the most likely cause of their illness, although the source of the illness has not been determined.
A spokesman for Thomson Holidays said:
“We are sorry to hear of Mr Ord and Mr Robson’s experience at the Dreams Resort and Spa in 2012.
“As we understand this is now subject to legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.
“Thomson closely audits all resorts to which we operate to ensure that health, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained in line with industry standards – and this hotel continues to be a popular choice.”
MailOnline Travel contacted Dreams Resort and Spa for comment, but none was available at the time of publication.
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