Man sues TUI for £5m as he was paralysed after food poisoning at hotel

Father-of-three, 59, sues TUI for £5m claiming he was left paralysed after suffering an infection caused by food poisoning at four-star Dominican Republic hotel

  • William Marsh fell ill from food poisoning while on holiday in Dominican Republic
  • The 59-year-old became permanently paralysed after his all inclusive trip
  • The father-of-three is suing TUI for £5m over his rare neurological condition
  • TUI has denied the claim, disputing that the hotel was the source of any bug 

A father-of-three who says a severe bout of food poising left him permanently paralysed after a tropical island getaway is now suing holiday giant TUI for £5million.

William Marsh claims he picked up a severe tummy bug while on a dream holiday in the Dominican Republic, which caused a freak reaction in his body and left him crippled in a wheelchair.

The 59-year-old was celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, Kathryn, and their 17-year-old daughter in July 2018 with a week-long holiday at the Riu Naiboa resort.

While on their all-inclusive stay at the luxury hotel, which was booked through TUI, William was taken ill with stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

Rather than recovering after a few days, he struggled to get back to his work as an engineer upon returning home.

One morning he awoke to find he had no feeling in his legs, then experienced the gradual horror of numbness spreading across his body.

Soon after, he lapsed into a coma for 10 weeks and was treated on a ventilator, before undergoing intensive rehab after regaining consciousness.

Four years on, Mr Marsh, from Mountain Ash, Wales, is now suing holiday giant TUI for up to £5m in London’s High Court over his life-changing condition, which he blames on poor hygiene or food preparation standards at the Rui Naiboa.

William Marsh, 59, is suing holidaymaker TUI for £5million after he became paralysed following a bout of food poisoning while on holiday in the Dominican Republic 

The father-of-three spent 10 weeks in a coma and seven months in hospital after the stomach illness he picked up on holiday 

Marsh claims the four-star Riu Naiboa hotel was the source of his food poisoning and subsequently caused him to be paralysed (pictured)

The father-of-three was on a holiday (pictured) to celebrate 25 years of marriage with his wife Kathryn 

It is believed a bacterial infection from the hotel triggered a neurological disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is very rare and sometimes develops after an infection.

It is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system.

The immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the nerves rather than germs.

It’s not clear exactly why this happens.

Some patients are only mildly affected, while others can suffer major nerve damage which shuts down their mobility.

An estimated 1,300 people are affected by GBS annually in the UK.

About 80 percent will recover, but between 5 per cent and 10 per cent die and 10 per cent to 15 per cent experience long term effects ranging from limited mobility to dependency on a wheelchair.

Mr Marsh’s lawyers say a bacterial infection picked up at the hotel triggered a devastating neurological disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome – in which the immune system attacks the nerves instead of fighting to block germs.

But TUI is denying all blame, hotly disputing that the hotel was the source of any toxic tummy bug.

The four-star Riu Naiboa hotel, which sits 400 metres from an acclaimed beach, states on its website that it prides itself on offering up a ‘wide variety of flavours and aromas’ from its buffet and ‘themed’ restaurant, and also on serving up traditional Dominican cuisine.

The case against TUI reached the High Court last week in a preliminary hearing between lawyers hammering out the complex issues that will shape the future trial.

Speaking previously, Mr Marsh said: ‘I need so much help to do even the simplest of tasks now and we have carers visiting the house every day.

We have also had to make a range of changes, as we needed a wet room, new central heating and an adapted car. I have to spend most of my time in the living room as I struggle to access other areas. It’s been devastating.

‘The process of recovery has been incredibly slow and it has been very frustrating at times. It is still hard to believe everything that has happened to me and it has been tough facing up to the fact that I may never walk properly again.’

Marsh has been left using a wheelchair to get around and has severe weakness down the left side of his body

TUI have denied the hotel, which serves traditional Dominican cuisine, is the source of the bacterial infection

Matthew Chapman – barrister for Mr Marsh – said he would be seeking evidence about food preparation and systems of hygiene at the hotel in the past, as well as ‘any recorded incidents of complaints about gastric or gastric related illnesses’.

The issues of negligence and the cause of his illness are both contested by TUI, which is also challenging the amount of compensation claimed.

Mr Marsh says he has been left using a wheelchair to get around and stricken by severe weakness down the left side of his body, drastically affecting his ability to grip with his left hand.

Mr Chapman told the court the eventual trial will hear evidence from a battery of expert witnesses, including microbiologists and a specialist on local food and hygiene standards.

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