Stuff that matters

A mum who contracted a horror illness while on a five-star holiday is still sick more than two months later.

Samantha Broadbent was struck down by vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps on the last day of her stay at a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic.

The 49-year-old’s condition deteriorated upon her return to the UK, where she had to be treated in hospital with IV antibiotics for shigella – a bacterial infection.

Since the trip in late August, Samantha still has ongoing symptoms and has instructed lawyers to investigate how she became infected, reports Teesside Live.

She had been staying with her son Ben at the Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort, which she booked through tour operator TUI.

The mum, from County Durham, said: “I booked the holiday so I could have some quality time with Ben after he finished school.

“We had both been really looking forward to it, but by the end of the trip I was really unwell.”

Samantha also expressed concerns about the level of hygiene at the five-star hotel.

She said: “Food was left uncovered and reheated, with new food added to the existing.

“There were also crabs and cats seen around the buffet, as well as spiders and flies. It really didn’t seem hygienic to me.”

Samantha further claims she saw plasters and bugs floating in the pool, adding that it “really isn’t something you expect from a five-star resort.”

The mum said she has heard of other families who became ill during their stay at the five-star hotel.

She added: “I’m not someone who normally suffers with a delicate stomach, but it’s been awful since our holiday.

“I always have to make sure there’s a toilet around and there are some things I can’t eat now as they trigger it. To find out I had a bacterial infection was a huge shock and I deserve some answers.

“While I can’t change what I’ve been through, knowing how it happened might help stop others from suffering like I have.”

The mum is now being represented by lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

Jatinder Paul, a specialist international serious injury lawyer at the firm, said: “Samantha had been looking forward to treating Ben to a well-earned holiday after he finished primary school.

“Sadly, however, she fell ill at the end of the trip and ended up in hospital in the UK.

“Shigella is a bacterial infection most commonly contracted by consuming food or water that has become contaminated. It can have a significant impact on those affected.

“We’re now investigating how Samantha developed her illness and are determined to obtain the answers she deserves.

“If, during the course of our investigation, any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to help prevent other holidaymakers falling ill in the future.”

In response, a TUI spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear about Ms Broadbent’s experience at the Grand Sirenis Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic, however as this is now a legal matter it would be inappropriate to comment.

“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of our hotels in respect to health and safety, including hygiene.”