A mum's dream holiday turned into a nightmare when her nine-year-old daughter contracted a life-threatening virus.
Vicky Hall-Newman, from Deal, Kent, feared her girl was going to die from the bug, which she claims her daughter caught at their hotel in Marmaris, Turkey.
She said other guests at the accommodation also fell ill, however she claims Thomas Cook reps insisted her child picked up the virus on a village trip.
The 46-year-old said her daughter, Tilly, went to hospital twice on the holiday – and was at her sickest on the second visit.
She told Kent Live : "She was unresponsive. I could not wake her up. She was on a bed in the emergency department and I was so scared for her.
“I actually thought at that moment that I was going to lose her.
“She was put on a drip and taken to the children’s ward. We were placed in a room with another English family who had two sick children and they were also staying in our hotel.
“One of these children was a baby under a year old. This lady told me that she had been there overnight, and the night before there had been another child from the hotel in the bed.”
Tilly was diagnosed with rotavirus – a highly infectious disease, which can cause serious diarrhoea, vomiting and even death through severe dehydration.
After spending another night in hospital, Vicky admitted she “cried tears of relief” when Tilly started recovering but has been left furious with Thomas Cook at how they handled the situation.
She said: “If I hadn't taken Matilda back to the hotel clinic, she would have gone for a nap and so would I. Then she might not have woken up.
“The realisation that my daughter was put into so much danger through the hotel and the complete denial that there was a problem made me so angry.
“Thomas Cook in Marmaris had brushed me off as an over-anxious and loud mother who was making a fuss over nothing.
“They had accused me of taking Matilda off-site and her being ill there when there was actually an illness in the hotel.
“Thomas Cook were just awful, unsupportive. No support whatsoever. I was a single parent out there on my own.
“I am so lucky that I went with my gut instinct all of the time and she is still with me.
“Being alone in a foreign country with a very sick child is so scary and it wasn't made any easier with Thomas Cook.
“I now have an email with a form I have to fill out and send back to them."
Speaking about the first time Tilly went to hospital, on May 6, Vicky said: "She couldn’t stop being sick and she was screaming in pain while clutching her stomach
“We were in our room and she was really tired. She was begging me to get a doctor. I phoned reception and the doctor was there within minutes.
“He told us she was dehydrated and she needed to go to hospital, so they rushed her in, but there was no translator when we arrived.
“They tried as best they could to get across to us what was wrong. The staff in the hospital were amazing.
“The doctor pointed to his hand and mouth and said it was a bug in her stomach that she had ingested.
“She had her blood taken and was put on a drip to replace fluids, as well as given anti-sickness drugs and painkillers.
“Being in a foreign hospital alone and not knowing what was going on was pretty scary.”
Tilly recovered after leaving hospital and went on a small boat trip with her mum on Thursday (May 9), however she fell ill again – and this time it was even worse.
The girl threw up while on the boat and – despite seeming fine after returning to the hotel – when Vicky took her to be checked out at the clinic, Tilly’s condition deteriorated rapidly and she was taken to hospital.
A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We were very sorry to hear that Ms Hall-Newman’s daughter became ill while on holiday and that she did not feel supported by us.
“We take illness seriously and continually monitor all reported cases, including those which are viral.
“As soon as we receive the illness questionnaire that we have asked Ms Newman-Hall to complete we can review her case for her.”
Tilly has now made a full recovery since returning to her home in Deal on May 10.
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