Mother and daughter who say stomach illness and bed bugs ruined dream Tui Caribbean holiday poised to take legal action
- Leanne Dowding and her daughter Casey Chalk went to the Dominican Republic
- They fell ill within five star hotel with gastric symptoms such as stomach cramps
A mother and daughter who say a stomach illness and bed bugs ruined their dream Tui Caribbean holiday are poised to take legal action.
Leanne Dowding, 39, and her daughter Casey Chalk, 19, stayed in a five star hotel in the Dominican Republic with 14 other family members.
But it was claimed three in the group fell ill with gastric symptoms including stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The family said they discovered other holidaymakers at the Grand Sirenis Resort in Punta Cana also suffered from similar symptoms.
Some family members also reported suffering from bed bug bites, while others staying at the resort also fell ill, according to lawyers representing the pair.
Leanne Dowding, 39, (right) and her daughter Casey Chalk, 19, (left) were staying in a five star hotel in the Dominican Republic with 14 other family members when they began to feel ill
Ms Dowding, a customer service advisor, said she still suffers the effects of the mystery illness nearly six months later, including stomach cramps.
‘Since coming home, I’m still not 100 per cent,’ she said.
‘It was meant to be a holiday of a lifetime for us, instead it turned into a complete nightmare.’
The family jetted off on their two-week trip on January 14, and Ms Dowding began feeling ill three days in with vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and a fever.
While the vomiting eased during the holiday, the other symptoms continued, she said.
Student Ms Chalk started suffering abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea on the second to last day of the visit and her grandfather also fell ill, she claimed.
Both mother and daughter visited their GP when they got back to the UK and samples were taken with Ms Chalk being told she had an inflamed gut.
Ms Dowding, from Southampton, Hampshire, added: ‘Just three days into our holiday, we’d gone out to the theatre and I started being sick.
The family said they discovered other holidaymakers at the Grand Sirenis Resort (pictured) in Punta Cana also suffered from similar symptoms
‘When I got back to the hotel, I went straight to bed with stomach pain and cramping. Then the diarrhoea and sweats started.
‘It totally ruined my holiday and the rest of the trip was pretty much written off for me.
‘Casey and her grandfather also fell ill, and I heard of others at the resort who had complained of sickness.
‘When I think back, I remember the restaurants smelled a bit funny, and tables were often left dirty.
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‘There would be flies hanging about the food and stray cats and dogs roaming about the restaurants.
‘Fresh food would be added to containers with lukewarm food already in it and utensils were being used across all dishes whether they were raw or cooked.’
The pair have now hired lawyers dealing with international serious injury to investigate the illnesses they suffered.
Jatinder Paul, from Irwin Mitchell representing those affected, said: ‘Leanne and Casey had really been looking forward to their family holiday.
‘The first-hand account we’ve heard about their illness is very concerning. Their symptoms continue to impact on them so much that they had to seek medical advice on their return to the UK.
‘Gastric illness should never be downplayed and in some cases can lead to long-term health problems.
‘Understandably Leanne and Casey have many questions over how they fell ill and we’re now looking into these.
‘If, during the course of our investigation, any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to help prevent future holidaymakers from suffering illness.’
Tui apologised but refused to comment while the firm’s legal team investigated.
A spokeswoman said: ‘We are really sorry to hear about Ms Dowding and her daughter’s experience and we would like to assure customers that health and safety is our highest priority.
‘Unfortunately, as this is now being investigated by our legal team we are unable to comment further.’
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