THE parents of a one-year-old Sheffield girl struck down by potentially deadly salmonella poisoning on holiday in Turkey are battling for compensation.
Daisy Edim suffered debilitating diarrhoea and dramatic weight loss and was left unable to eat or drink properly for another five weeks after she returned home to High Green.
Her mum Michelle – who 10 years earlier worked as a travel rep at the same five-star hotel where Daisy began to feel ill – said her daughter still wears clothes meant for children nearly half her age due to the weight she lost.
“The holiday was a disaster and was particularly horrendous for poor Daisy,” she said.
“She suffered from diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and in turn nappy rash for another month after we got home. Salmonella is horrible enough for adults, let alone a little girl who doesn’t know why she is so ill.
“We took her to see our GP as soon as we got home and after some tests he diagnosed her with salmonella. He also told us that, given the time frame of her condition, it was extremely likely the illness had been contracted in the hotel.”
Michelle claimed the five-star Sheraton Voyager hotel in Antalya “showed an utter disregard for basic health and safety standards” during their stay.
“I used to work as a tour rep myself, so I know exactly the rights and wrongs of how food should be cooked and served at a holiday resort,” she said.
“Food was left uncovered and served lukewarm and fresh food was placed on top of stale remnants.
“Pest control was also a real problem. Cats were roaming around both the kitchen and restaurant and I had to constantly keep my daughter away from them.”
Michelle, husband Seb, Daisy and sons Zak, eight, and Noah, six, stayed at the Sheraton Voyager for only one night after being moved there when their flight home was delayed for 26 hours.
The 33-year-old healthcare support worker has sought advice from Sheffield-based solicitors Irwin Mitchell.
She said: “I lived in Turkey and I am not naive – I know it’s likely you can pick up a bit of an upset stomach when you’re out there but it normally rights itself within a couple of days. With Daisy it went on for weeks. It was awful watching her go through that.
“Now I want to make sure something is done so no other families have to go through what we did.”
Nearly a year on from the “nightmare” trip with holiday firm Thomas Cook, Daisy – now two-and-a-half – is fully recovered.
Noah also became unwell after the holiday but recovered much more quickly and was therefore not tested for salmonellosis.
Suki Chhokar, a travel law expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Holidaymakers have the right to know the hotels they are booking follow basic standards of health and safety.
“While nothing will ever be able to make up for the suffering young Daisy endured, we hope Thomas Cook will work with us to resolve the matter on behalf of our client promptly and amicably.
“As a former tour representative, Mrs Edim knows exactly what basic health and safety guidelines should be in place to prevent illnesses such as salmonella occurring.”
A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “We take reports of any illness very seriously and are undertaking a full investigation with the hotel and our resort team regarding the issues raised by Mrs Edim.
“We do hope her daughter is now fully recovered.
“We are continuing to liaise with the solicitor representing the family and are awaiting further information.”
Most people infected with the salmonella bacteria develop diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, and cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. In severe cases, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and can cause death without antibiotics treatment. Infants and the elderly are among those more likely to develop severe illness.