A mum has received £30,000 in damages after being put in a coma to fight life-threatening conditions she blames on a hotel’s buffet food.
Ex-soldier Leanne Maguire began to feel ill on day three of a two-week holiday in Mexico and spent the rest of it in bed.
When she got home doctors diagnosed viral gastroenteritis caused by food poisoning, said Leanne, 37. She was later rushed to intensive care, put in a medically induced coma for a week and her family were warned she could die.
On awaking, she said, medics revealed that the bug had given her septicaemia, e-Coli and pneumonia as well as liver, lung and kidney failure.
Leanne, who spent nearly two months in hospital, began legal action against travel giant Thomas Cook, which finally settled out of court after five years – just before the case was to be heard.
The accounts supervisor, who has a 15-year-old son Rhys, said: “I could not grasp how a bout of food poisoning led me to death’s door. Then I realised how nasty this condition can be.
“I lost more than 5st in weight and lots of my hair due to malnutrition.
“Also I had to take half a year off work and needed counselling to get my life back on track. I looked so different that I found it difficult to accept myself.”
Her nightmare started when she booked a £3,500 holiday at the Temptation Cancun Resort in August 2013.
“I spent two weeks in severe pain and kept being violently sick everywhere,” said Leanne, of Runcorn, Cheshire.
“My holiday was completely ruined and a waste of money.” After flying back to Britain she was admitted to Warrington Hospital for five days of tests.
She said that after the food poisoning diagnosis she was sent home with painkillers – but had to return when her urine turned black and even drinking water made her vomit.
Following a three-week stay then five days at home she was admitted to hospital for a third time after her partner dialled 999. This time she went to intensive care.
“At that point I thought my body was about to shut down completely as I couldn’t feel anything,” said Leanne. Despite her recovery, tests revealed she now has coeliac disease – meaning she cannot eat products containing gluten.
In December 2013 she appointed a no-win-no-fee solicitor, who launched a case against Thomas Cook for £200,899 compensation – claiming the hotel food caused her condition.
Her case was set for Chester County Court last October but the company’s settlement offer arrived with days to go.
Leanne said: “I was delighted when they finally admitted liability after putting me through five years of hell.”
Thomas Cook said: “Customer well-being is always our priority. We’re very sorry Ms Maguire was ill at the resort.
“This was a complex case. Medical evidence and time were needed to determine the appropriate level of damages.”
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