Holiday illness victim wins record £240k compensation
The 66 year-old had been enjoying a two-week break at the Hacienda Tropical beach resort in the Dominican Republic's Puerto Plata region when she bit into the red snapper fish meal.





After the incident in the Caribbean more than seven years ago, the grandmother, of Accrington, has disabled, been left endured organ failure, temporary blindness and septicaemia.

She flew back to Manchester and was rushed to Accrington Victoria before a transfer to Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

After being diagnosed with bacterial gastroenteritis, doctors then discovered an infection contracted from the worm attacked her brain, liver and pancreas.

The mother-of-three now takes 23 tablets a day for heart, bowel and bone conditions, has only 30 per cent use of the left side of her body and is mostly confined to a wheelchair.

"I never thought it would happen. I have been all over the world and had this dish before. It's my favourite,”

Mrs Rushton said.

"After I ate into it I thought 'let me be okay'. But about 1am the following morning the pains were horrendous.

"I have had three sons in childbirth. All that pain put together was nothing compared to it.

“I remember violent diarrhoea and blood loss through my nose and mouth.”

She added: “It was horrendous.”

Later lawyers proved Mrs Rushton’s health problems were due to poor hygiene at the hotel and a settlement with tour operator First Choice was later agreed.

Her lengthy legal struggle was supported by specialist travel law solicitor, Paul McClorry from Manchester firm, Pannone, who said it was the highest ever payout by a tour operator for a holiday illness claim.

But despite the £240,000 compensation claim, the former yoga teacher said the money was no substitute for her health.

"It seems a lot of money but the point is my health has suffered inside and out," she said.

"If you pay good money to stay at a four or five star place, you go to relax and chill out - not to come back and fight for your life like I did.

"I'm not getting any better now. It's just going to go worse. There will come a day when I need a nurse carer each day. That money is in a trust for when I need it."

Mrs Rushton, who once enjoyed dancing, climbing and fell walking, now works three hours a week in a voluntarily counselling role.

A spokeswoman from First Choice confirmed the company has stopped selling the property.

Since the incident Mrs Rushton has written a semi-autobiographical book entitled "To Hell and Back, and Back Again", which she hopes to publish soon.


Go back | Date: 05 Apr 2010
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