A COUPLE still suffering the after-effects of a disaster holiday have been awarded a five-figure settlement for their ordeal.
Michael and Elizabeth Rodwell, from Moorside, spent almost £5,000 on their two-week sunshine break to the Baobab Beach Resort & Spa, Diani Beach, Kenya, to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday.
But their dream trip turned to a nightmare after they contracted a severe gastric illness from which they still suffer symptoms.
On the last day of their Thomson holiday in August 2010, Elizabeth, 57, began suffering abdominal pains, diarrhoea and an extreme fever.
After her return to the UK, her symptoms became so severe that she was rushed to A&E, admitted to hospital for eight days and had10 weeks off work while she recovered.
Michael, 58, a civil servant, suffered similar symptoms and was admitted to hospital for seven days and missed several weeks off work. A specialist told the pair they were lucky to survive after being exposed to campylobacter bacteria.
They both continue to suffer severe abdominal pains and irregular bowel movements that can leave them in fear of leaving the house.
They spoke of their relief after travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell secured an undisclosed settlement for them.
Elizabeth said: “We saved really hard for the holiday and had been looking forward to it for ages. It looked stunning on the website, a real holiday of a lifetime, but it turned out to be the worst money we ever spent.
“When I was rushed to hospital after we got back I couldn’t believe it. And to have to stay there for more than a week for treatment was horrific. I couldn’t believe how much I was suffering because of a so-called holiday.”
The couple were admitted to different hospitals, 14 miles apart, which meant their two daughters had to travel between the two.
Elizabath said: “I never dreamt I’d still be living with symptoms as a consequence of the trip 18 months on and that it would still have an impact on my day-to-day life.
“I hardly go out to eat at restaurants and friends’ houses for fear of falling ill, and when I do, I often have to rush to the toilet in between my meals.
“I now have a very bland diet with hardly any flavouring and no spices to try and control my symptoms, but having to watch what I eat at all times is a constant pain.”
She added: “While it is a relief to have some financial security for the future, my whole life has changed as a result of this disastrous holiday and nothing can make up for that.”
While on the holiday the Rodwells claim to have been served recycled, raw and undercooked food in the hotel restaurant and saw the same utensils being used to handle raw and cooked meat.
Rajbir Somel, a travel law specialist at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Elizabeth and her husband, said: “This couple’s horrendous experience is a serious cause for concern. The fact that they were both diagnosed with campylobacter, a food poisoning that can be caused by placing raw and cooked food on the same surfaces and using the same utensils for both, is totally unacceptable.
“On the Baobab Beach Resort & Spa website, guests are promised an ‘oasis of tranquillity’. This certainly wasn’t the case for this couple, who both returned home with confirmed cases of a very nasty food poisoning, which for Elizabeth and Michael proved to be extremely dangerous.”