A man who returned from holiday in Turkey with Legionnaires’ disease has instructed Hudgell Solicitors to investigate whether the four-star hotel he stayed at was responsible.
It comes as other holidaymakers who have recently stayed at the Sun City Hotel and Beach Club in Olu Deniz, Turkey, have taken to review site TripAdvisor claiming the hotel has recently evacuated guests following an outbreak.
Thomas Molloy, 64, of Beverley, East Yorkshire, says he became weak and breathless towards the end of a 10-day break with his wife Jean, 65, at the hotel last month.
It resulted in a six-day stay in Hull Royal Infirmary when he got home, where he was told he had the lung infection which is caught by inhaling water infected by legionella bacteria.
Given he had previously had a kidney transplant, Mr Molloy, says he feared the situation could prove serious, and at times when in hospital he worried that it could have a long-term impact on his health, given those over 45 and with impaired immune systems are considered at higher risk.
Now, he has turned to the specialist travel litigation team at Hudgell Solicitors to investigate his case with travel operator TUI.
He remains signed off from his work as a St John’s Ambulance first aid trainer by his GP, and says he still gets out of breath at home, almost a month after his holiday.
‘I became really weak and short of breath, it was quite frightening’
Mr Molloy says he has been left angry after reading recent claims of suspected Legionnaire’s at the hotel on TripAdvisor, almost a month after they returned.
“We are not the kind of people who complain but serious questions have to be asked now at this hotel,” he said.
“I was really quite angry when the hospital told me I had Legionnaires’, as for people like me who have had a transplant, or for older people with underlying conditions, it could be very serious, if not fatal to pick up something like this.
“The hotel was a disappointment to be fair given what we were expecting. We’d booked it as our main holiday for the year and we wanted to just relax around the complex. As the weather was really hot we mainly stayed around the pool.
“My wife was not very well for a couple of days early on in the holiday but she recovered, but then I began to feel really poorly the last few days.
“My legs became very weak and I was really short of breath, and on the day we were flying home I wasn’t even able to stand for very long in the queues or pull our bags, Jean had to do it. It was quite frightening.”
After landing in Manchester and returning home to East Yorkshire, Mr Molloy hoped he had come through the worse and believed the searing temperatures throughout their stay may have been the cause.
“We had some really high temperatures throughout our stay and it was really humid and I wondered whether I was suffering from heatstroke or perhaps even dehydration, although I couldn’t understand that as I’d had plenty of fluids,” he said.
“We’d also stayed out of the direct heat and had the air-conditioning on in our room for long periods, even during the night, as Jean wanted the room as cool as possible to be comfortable.”
Six days in hospital
The morning after returning home, and still feeling very unwell, Mr Molloy went to the Accident and Emergency Department at Hull Royal Infirmary, where he was admitted to the Acute Admissions Unit for further tests, which revealed he had Legionnaires’ disease.
He remained in hospital for six days and was placed on antibiotics before being allowed to return home, but says he still feels the impact of his illness today.
“I just feel lethargic and lacking energy, especially if I try and do anything physical, and I have had a really bad cough,” he said.
“I tried to do a bit of gardening at the weekend but it was just too difficult and I was out of breath. My doctor signed me off sick for a month as he said I needed the rest.
“As time has passed and with all the detail I now have I have felt more anger about it. It could have been really dangerous given I am a kidney transplant patient.
“Now I have seen reports of other people saying the people have been evacuated due to an outbreak. These reports are this week and we returned home on September 21, so that is a long time for guests to have still been going there.”
On TripAdvisor, a review by aaronj518 states ‘This is very urgent hotel closed and guests have been taken ill with legionnaires disease’
Reviewer theflyingdutchman69 claims ‘A disaster waiting to happen and looks like it has, starting with our evacuation due to suspected Legionnaire’s disease’.
A third reviewer, wemetonazura, also refers to ‘suspected Legionnaire’s disease’ at the hotel in a review posted on October 13.
Solicitor will pursue ‘thorough investigation’ into claims
Anne Thomson, a travel litigation claims specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, says she will be asking the hotel to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring standards for controlling legionella in water systems have been met and maintained to protect guests and staff.
She said: “It is very concerning to learn of our client Mr Molloy’s illness during his holiday at the Sun City Hotel and Beach Club and it is obviously of great concern to learn that was caused by him contracting legionnaire’s disease.
“Symptoms of Legionella can take some time to develop and can be flu-like, with shortness of breath, chest pains, temperatures and coughs, many of which Mr Molly had and attributed initially to the heat in Turkey.
“Given the circumstances of his illness, and the other reports of holidaymakers on TripAdvisor referring to Legionella, we feel a thorough investigation is required and for the holiday operators who partner with this hotel to provide full statements into the situation.
“Hotels are susceptible to this dangerous bacteria given it develops in water systems, and large complexes which have many water systems from showers and air-conditioning systems to hot tubs must be completely on top of this area of health and safety and fully compliant with regulations at all times.
“As holidaymakers booking through established operators, paying substantial amounts of money, the very least we expect is that hotels are maintained to high standards and are clean and safe.
“Clear regulations are in place with regards to Legionella as it can be a very dangerous, if not fatal, illness which is entirely avoidable.”