Newlyweds suing First Choice after Cuban hotel wedding was ruined by salmonella
A couple are suing holiday giant First Choice after their family contracted salmonella during their dream wedding holiday in Cuba.
The Daily Mail reports that the newlyweds' baby daughter, the only one who was officially found to have the potentially fatal bacteria, was rushed to hospital after she began to fit.
Groom James Sullivan, from Sheffield, first put his jittery stomach down to pre-wedding nerves as he prepared for his nuptials at the Playa Pesquero hotel in Holguin, Cuba.
However, 11 days into the holiday and on the morning of his wedding to partner Collette, he and his two young children fell ill with diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
When the family returned to the UK, their baby daughter Ava's condition took a turn for the worse.
Mrs Sullivan told the Daily Mail: 'James was ill on the wedding day but you grin and smile through it for a photo.
'He, my son Cole, four, and Ava were all ill.
'But Ava was the worst.
'It's not how you imagine your wedding to be.
'I was completely fine as I stuck to chips, and I didn't eat many of them as I had to get in my wedding dress.
'But on the plane home, Ava became very ill. She soiled her dress and we had to keep constantly changing her.
'She developed blisters around her nappy and bottom. It was horrible.'
Once they were at their home in Sheffield, Ava became desperately ill and began to fit. She was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
It was confirmed she has contracted salmonella, a disease which if the immune system is already low, can prove fatal.
The couple said they feared at one point their daughter would die.
Mrs Sullivan said: 'She overheated and started convulsing as if she was having febrile convulsions.
'She was boiling hot.
'I am epileptic, and it was just like an epileptic fit.
'Their main concern was cooling her down.
'Once they stabilised her and got her test results, they confirmed salmonella.
'It was just terrifying.'
The mum-of-two now fears her husband and son may have had the same bug that Ava was just too weak to fight off.
The family said they expected the four-star Playa Pesquero to be a dream resort after seeing it listed as a 'premier' hotel on the First Choice website.
They claim that the hotel had poor food hygiene standards with 'birds and stray cats roaming the outdoor restaurant.'
They were also convinced the staff were serving up leftovers after they were given 'peas and sprouts for breakfast'.
The family have instructed travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell to pursue a case against tour operator First Choice. The firm successfully represented tourists who were ill at the hotel in 2008 and 2009.
Mrs Sullivan said: 'We know you get tummy bugs abroad.
'We're not scroungers and have thought hard about taking any action at all.
'If anything does come of this, all of the money will be put in a fund for Ava.
'We still don't know what the long term effects of the poisoning will have on her.
'She was so ill, she may never be the same again.'
'This was supposed to be the most perfect day of our life but the illness completely ruined our holiday and wedding celebrations.
She added: 'It was heartbreaking to see my daughter so ill and to find out she had contracted salmonella is terrifying.'
Mr Sullivan said: 'The food was sometimes undercooked, we saw some food uncovered so flies were buzzing around, and we suspected they were re-using food between meals - which became pretty obvious when they served up peas and sprouts for breakfast one morning.'
Travel law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, Jatinder Paul, who is representing the family, said: 'Instead of enjoying the first few days of married life, the Sullivans had to deal with the hugely stressful situation of caring for their very poorly family.'
A First Choice spokeswoman said: 'We are sorry to hear the family did not enjoy their holiday.
'The Playa Pesquero Hotel remains a popular choice for our customers.'
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