Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Getting RotaVirus On Holiday With Thomas Cook And No Support At All

Where we stayed - Sun Connect Grand Ideal Premium in Marmaris
Who we were insured with - Post Office Premium Family policy for Europe and Turkey with no excess

I have just returned from a holiday to Marmaris in Turkey and all I can say is that I would never stay there again! The hotel itself was pretty enough and it seemed to look clean and tidy but there were ants in our room, on my daughter's bedside table. The problem was more with the Thomas Cook staff and the hotel management.

We booked 10 days in the sun, we both deserved it, we had a crap time over the previous months and I worked so hard to find the money to pay for the holiday and I was happy with the direct debit payments that Thomas Cook had arranged to make the holiday affordable. We boarded the plane and it was an overnight flight, so we had a full day ahead of us when we arrived. The first 5 days were like a dream, we made the most of the sun, although Marmaris is also very windy. But on the 6th day, Matilda fell ill and she was rushed to hospital by ambulance because she couldn't stop being sick and she was screaming in pain, whilst clutching her stomach.

The hospital was obviously Turkish and it was late in the night when we got there, so there was no translator available, They tried as best they could to get across to us what was wrong. The staff in the hospital were amazing and I couldn't fault it at all. She had her blood taken and was put on a drip to replace fluids as well as given anti-sickness drugs and pain killers. Being in a foreign hotel, alone and not knowing what was going on was pretty scary. We had to go off with a porter to have an x-ray done and the hospital was deadly silent because by now it was really late at night but I cannot fault the hospital for anything. You hear scary stories of being in a foreign hospital and they are dirty, you're left to suffer in pain or they operate on you just to get some money from your insurance company. I was terrified of what was wrong with her and what I would agree to her having done because I didn't understand what was going on.

One of the worst feelings was having to call my kids back home and letting them know their baby sister was in the hospital. I was supposed to be a grown up and be responsible for this vulnerable little girl, yet I hadn't stopped her being so ill. I even wondered why I couldn't be a responsible adult like the other mums around the school gates that I see every day. I always have to be doing something adventurous. Eventually about 2AM, we were told we could go home after she had finished her drip, and taken some paracetamol and anti-sickness medication. I had never needed to use my travel insurance before but I used it whilst in the hospital and they were actually amazing. They had a 24-hour number and they talked me through what would happen, that I wouldn't need to pay anything because I had taken out premium insurance with no excess. It actually pays to get good insurance and not just choose the cheapest one.

We spent the next day in the room, I didn't want anyone else at the hotel being ill with what she had and I certainly didn't want to put her in a situation where she was going to be ill in public, so I made her comfortable in the room and she slept and watched her kindle. I longed for the sun and to be out there enjoying my holiday, but life dealt us a different hand on this holiday. On a Tuesday night, I mentioned to another parent that Tilly had been ill and I hoped her daughter didn't get it. She told me that other people had been ill from the hotel and someone had been in the hospital for 2 days. When I had spoken to the rep (Chloe) that day about Tilly being ill, I was told by her and the guest relations lady, that it would have been something we had picked up on the village tour, four days previously. In fact, they had convinced me that she picked it up off site! They made no mention of other people being ill from the hotel.

On Wednesday morning I contacted the 24 hour Thomas Cook helpline, who told me to speak to the rep. The hotel rep was in complete denial and refused to listen that there was a problem, she admitted other people had been ill and said that 3 people in the hospital out of 500 was a good ratio! I was utterly shocked by her remark and pointed out that there should be no people in the hospital.  I asked to speak to the rep manager (as advised by Thomas Cook). The manager wouldn't come to the hotel, and instead, I spoke to her on the phone. The rep manager apologised for the rep and told me that they had been wrong to tell me that the illness was picked up off-site. But I still felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. I had no support or back up from Thomas Cook in Turkey!

By Thursday, we had booked a trip to Rhodes, but I felt she wasn't strong enough to take the trip. She had been checked at the hotel clinic and she was back to her normal self. But something made me not go on the trip and although I lost £65, I now know it was the best choice I made because of how the day panned out. Instead, I paid more money and took her on a small boat trip, but she was sick on the boat. I thought it was seasick and another English mum gave her an anti-sickness tablet. And she seemed fine after that but I took her back to the hotel clinic after we returned to the hotel and got her checked out. It is a decision that I am so relieved that I made. They took a look at her and suddenly she was sleepy and we couldn't really wake her up, so they advised we go back to the hospital. By now I felt a bit like an expert in the Turkish medical scene and was ready for this. There was a translator at the hospital this time and she explained that the doctor wanted to keep Matilda in and I had to find £500 to pay for the overnight stay upfront. Sheer panic and fear swept through me and I phoned my Son and his wife, they offered the money and a friend put money into my account as well as Kim.

At this point, we couldn't even wake Matilda up! she was on a bed in the emergency department and I was so scared for her and I actually thought at that moment that I was going to lose her. She was put on a drip and taken to the childrens ward. We were placed in a room with another English family who had two sick children and they were also staying in our hotel. One of these children was a baby under a year old. This lady told me that she had been there overnight, the night before and there had been another child from the hotel in the bed. HOW CAN THOMAS COOK DENY THERE IS AN ILLNESS AT THE HOTEL? 

Being in hospital overnight gave me a lot of time to think and to have a little cry. I was crying out of relief because if I hadn't taken Matilda back to the hotel clinic, she would have gone for a nap and so would I. Then she might not have woken up. The realisation that my daughter was put into so much danger through the hotel and the complete denial that there was a problem made me so angry. My job as a parent is to always protect my children, whether they are 26 or 9 years old. Yet Thomas Cook in Marmaris had brushed me off as an over anxious and loud mother who was making a fuss over nothing. They had accused me of taking Matilda off-site and her being ill there when there was actually an illness in the hotel. Thomas Cook in Marmaris had no care for the parents at the hotel and just wanted to hush it all up.

My daughter was signed off by the Doctor after having three lots of medication and 4 or 5 drips constantly overnight. She was diagnosed with RotaVirus, a virus that actually kills kids and if I hadn't gone with my gut instinct, it could have taken her too. We were told by the amazing insurance company that we didn't have to pay £500. We went back to the hotel to pack our bags and as it was an hour before I had to check out. I asked if we could keep the room on free of charge as my daughter was ill and I didn't want her passing the virus on to other kids. We were told it would be 55 Euro! So I reminded them that she had a virus and she would spread it through the hotel if she wasn't isolated - they let us keep the room on until 6pm. She slept most of the day.  Not once during her hospital visits or being confined in her room, did a Thomas Cook rep or member of the hotel staff come to the room to check how my daughter was. Believe me, when we left that hotel at 9.30pm I was so relieved to be going home. As soon as the wheels left the runway, I breathed a sigh of relief because the holiday from hell was over - now I have a battle with Thomas Cook on my hands!

Since being home Matilda has made a full recovery, I am so lucky that I went with my gut instinct all of the time and she is still with me. Being alone in a foreign country with a very sick child is so scary and it wasn't made any easier with Thomas Cook.

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