A retired yoga teacher whose health was destroyed after she bit into a black worm in a meal she had ordered at her holiday hotel has won £240,000 in compensation from the tour operator.
It was during a two-week break in the Dominican Republic that Beryl Rushton, 66, ordered fish for dinner. When she started to eat it she bit into a large black worm, surrounded by blood, which was in the middle of the fish.
Soon afterwards, Mrs Rushton began to feel very ill, with severe stomach pains. She experienced violent diarrhoea and also blood loss through her mouth and nose. She was flown back to the UK where she was diagnosed with bacterial gastroenteritis. Doctors discovered that the infection had invaded her liver, brain and pancreas, which caused liver failure, septicaemia and temporary blindness.
Mrs Rushton has been left with heart, bowel and bone conditions and has to take 23 tablets each day. She is now mostly confined to a wheelchair and is no longer able to take part in her hobbies of dancing, climbing and fell walking.
When Mrs Rushton brought a claim against the tour operator involved, she was able to prove that her injuries were the result of poor hygiene at the hotel. A settlement of £240,000, thought to be the biggest ever in this type of case, was agreed.
The tour operator has since stopped offering holidays at the Caribbean beach resort where Mrs Rushton contracted the infection.
It is fortunately quite rare for this type of incident to have such long-lasting effects as those caused by the poor standards experienced by Mrs Rushton.