Sickened in Aruba – does this guest deserve a vacation re-do?


Joseph Gordon’s recent stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino did not go as planned. Actually, that may be something of an understatement. It was a disaster.

He and his wife had booked a package rate that included a hot buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and food and drinks at the hotel’s Tradewinds Lounge in the evening.

“They ate exclusively at the hotel,” explains their travel agent, Donald Gordon (no relation). “On the second day of the vacation, only his wife had pork loin for dinner.”

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You can probably guess what happened next. Within 12 hours of the meal, Margaret Gordon became ill with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. She was confined to the room for the remainder of their stay.

“On the first leg of their return flight she got up to go to the bathroom and collapsed,” says Gordon, her travel agent. “Fortunately there was an emergency room physician on the plane who gave her 500 ml of saline intravenously and advised them she should get additional fluids in a hospital in Charlotte and stay overnight instead of making their connection home.”

Fortunately, she felt better after the saline and made the return flight home as scheduled. After a week of bedrest, she made a full recovery.

So what’s the problem? Marriott offered the couple some compensation for the bad experience, but the guests, speaking through their travel agent, believe they are entitled to more. They asked him to contact me because he says they are not comfortable using a computer.

Normally, I would ask for a paper trail of correspondence between the hotel and the guest. But Gordon supplied enough documentation, including an in-flight report on Gordon’s wife’s condition. Clearly, she did not check out in good condition after eight days at the Marriott.

Here’s what happened after they returned home, according to Gordon.

On their behalf, I contacted Marriott and all they were willing to do was give them 50,000 points to make it up to them. Then they offered to compensate $100 for the medications.

All of us feel this is totally insufficient. [They] are only asking for another equivalent vacation at the Marriott Aruba or another Marriott as compensation for their difficulties.

Marriott has not been willing to accommodate them and turned it over to their insurance company, AIG, who said there was no proof this happened.

I wrote to the evaluator and advised him to check with the house MD, the pharmacist, the house staff, the front desk, etc. and he reported there was no way to confirm the claim.

As we’ve seen in the past, food poisoning is difficult to prove. How can you be sure it happened at a hotel or restaurant? Even on a cruise ship, with the Norwalk virus running rampant, it’s often impossible to pin down. Did passengers board the ship infected or did they contract it while they were underway?

I feel terrible for the Gordons. Getting sick on vacation — no matter who is to blame — is an awful thing. I can understand why they’d want to re-do their vacation.

But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that the Marriott is responsible for feeding Gordon undercooked meat, which led to her illness. What would a fair resolution be? More than 50,000 points and a $100 reimbursement? Possibly. An all-expense paid vacation to another Marriott property? Maybe, maybe not.

I’ve been mediating cases for a while now, and I’m hard-pressed to remember a single instance where a request for a re-do was honored.

Between the time I received this case and could write about it, Marriott agreed to sweeten Joseph’s offer. Much to my surprise (and I’m sure yours, too) it agreed to cover his lodging expenses for a re-do.

Way to go, Marriott. And kudos to their travel agent for the fine advocacy work.

Did Marriott offer the Gordon's too much compensation?

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110 thoughts on “Sickened in Aruba – does this guest deserve a vacation re-do?

  1. I’ve gotten a vacation do over when food poisoned at a hotel.

    If, and that’s always the big question, one can prove that Marriott fed Ms. Gordon tainted food, e.g. spoiled, then a re-do is getting out cheap, very very cheap. An ambulance chaser would get 3x Ms. Gordon’s medical bills as a settlement.

    1. But if one got real sick the second day of a long vacation why stay the rest of the days? Why not go to a hospital and then go home as early as possible? What the heck were they doing there for 5 to 6 more days?

      1. I got food poisoning on a trip to Bali once. Most definitely caused by the resort — we’d already been there for several days, and we were at a remote resort that caters to scuba divers, and ate all our meals there…we literally never left the resort except to go diving, and that was on their boats.

        I was too sick to get out of bed for 3 days, then feeling too weak to travel for another 2. There was simply no way for me to leave.

        By the way, we got nothing. Zero. The resort said it could have come from anything — maybe I drank the tap water, which everyone is told not to do. I didn’t, of course, but no way to prove it. I didn’t fight it. People get sick, and sometimes it happens on vacation. Sucks, but that’s life. We were there for three weeks and had a great time for two of the three.

        I’m on my way back to Bali next month, but I will NOT be visiting that resort, that’s for sure!

        1. Marriott is at least 4 star and with the upgrade (Tradewinds) that should at least add half a star.
          I have to believe that is she was puking and pooping all over then the hotel would have known and done something while she was suffering.
          The fact that we have no record or discussion about these days of agony makes me wonder what really happened.
          If she was indeed an older person, then hospitalization might have been appropriate.
          The fact that she needed emergency help while in an airplane is alarming when we now know she had several days to get stabilized in the ground. The airline should not have lifted her under these conditions.

        2. Hey by no means am I trying to scare you or something.
          Just got off an IM session with my sis.
          A close family friend of ours (teacher in SFO) went scuba diving in SEAsia and drowned this weekend. Details are still sketchy but it looks like equipment failure. Her husband tried to resuscitate her but no luck. Her kids in SFO have to apply for new passports so they can rush to SEAsia since she kept them inside a safe at their home in SFO (and they can’t open it) 🙁
          So tragic and shocking.
          She is a 2nd grade teacher. How to explain this to kids.

          1. Oh man, that’s sad. Always hate to hear of a death of a fellow diver. If she was on vacation I’m not surprised to hear that it could be equipment failure. Most people rent their gear on vacation, and some dive ops just don’t maintain their rental gear well. I almost got killed in the Galapagos due to rental gear failure! That’s why I will never rent gear again…just not worth the risk. I bring my own equipment, even if I have to pay extra baggage fees. But I’m a frequent diver…Most vacation divers don’t even own gear so they are at the mercy of these dive operators.

            I’m sorry for your loss, Tony.

          2. Thanks LeeAnne.
            Another lesson learned here is make sure your kids can get to their passports.

  2. “Undercooked” pork can cause trichinosis. But, is not specifically related to other types of food borne illness. This could have just as easily been a flu virus. Unless a doctor was called at the resort, and samples taken, we will never know.

    Why do people think someone owes them for every negative aspect if their life.

    1. The problem with the trichinosis theory is it takes longer to develop compared to the symptoms displayed by the victim.

      How soon after infection will symptoms appear?
      Abdominal symptoms can occur 1-2 days after infection. Further symptoms usually
      start 2-8 weeks after eating contaminated meat. Symptoms may range from very mild to severe and relate to the number of infectious worms consumed in meat. Often, mild cases of trichinellosis are never specifically diagnosed and are assumed to be the flu or other common illnesses.

      How does infection occur in humans and animals?
      When a human or animal eats meat that contains infective Trichinella cysts, the acid in the stomach dissolves the hard covering of the cyst and releases the worms. The worms pass into the small intestine and, in 1-2 days, become mature. After mating, adult females lay eggs. Eggs develop into immature worms, travel through the arteries, and are transported to muscles. Within the muscles, the worms curl into a ball and encyst (become enclosed in a capsule). The life cycle repeats when meat containing these encysted worms is consumed by another human or animal.

      1. The fact that the wife had pork doesn’t prove it was the pork. I’m guessing it was norovirus like Sirwired below suggests. If, in fact it were a food-bourne illness, you’d expect a bigger outbreak than just one person. Of course, the resort would never own-up to that if if happened.

        1. Hey wait… There is no Trichinosis theory. I never suggested that might be the case. I was only pointing out, in response to Chris’ comment “…for argument’s sake, that the Marriott is responsible for feeding Gordon undercooked meat, which led to her illness.”, that pork being under-done is not per-se a predictor of food-borne illness and the symptoms described were not consistent with trichinosis.

          BTW, the article never mentioned the OP’s noting the meat was undercooked. It was probably edited out.

    2. “Why do people think someone owes them for every negative aspect if their life.”

      Welcome to the new America.

  3. From the symptoms, it sounds exactly like what Norwalk victims describe. Could be food poisoning, but I doubt it; food poisoning doesn’t usually last that long. Hard to say where she caught it; if the Hotel did not report any other Norwalk victims, she probably caught it on the trip to the resort; the timing is about right.

    On another note: To anybody reading this: If you come down with vomiting and diahrea that bad, lasting that long, don’t wait to see a doctor. Illness that severe can cause dehydration that kills, and the remedy (supportive fluids, usually Lactated Ringer’s) is in stock at virtually any medical clinic in the world.

    1. There’s a big gap in the story. We are all concerned about what happened during the rest of the supposed vacation. She got sick on day 2 of a 7-8 day vacation. And then collapses on the flight back. What the heck happened from day 3 to 7? Did Marriott provide medical assistance? Was there an outbreak at the hotel?
      Why didn’t Elliott ask?

      Added: From what I gathered in this article, Marriott does not seem to acknowledge the LW’s wife was that sick …

      On their behalf, I contacted Marriott and all they were willing to do was give them 50,000 points to make it up to them. Then they offered to compensate $100 for the medications.
      Marriott has not been willing to accommodate them and turned it over to their insurance company, AIG, who said there was no proof this happened.
      I wrote to the evaluator and advised him to check with the house MD, the pharmacist, the house staff, the front desk, etc. and he reported there was no way to confirm the claim.

    2. Just FYI, my wife had a seven day food poisoning incident (bad Subway sandwich). Went to the doctor who pretty much said you stated: Imodium and gatorade or this packet of salty powder he said to mix with water. And stay in bed until you feel better. And even severe food poisoning doesn’t require hospitalization so long as you stay hydrated. So yeah, food poisoning can last seven to ten days.

      1. “So long as you stay hydrated”. Yes, but with severe food poisoning, being able to stay hydrated without an IV is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible. It becomes apparent that we have different ideas of “severe”.

        1. There’s no hard and fast rule to this since everyone is different.
          But common sense tells me that if I get real sick, I will need lots of fluids, rest, possibly medication, and a DOCTOR especially before I get on a more than 4 hour trip to Charlotte and beyond.
          If I am sick enough in the ground, then what more in the air?

          1. When you work in a hospital, severe means you’re getting admitted. You can’t keep anything down, you can’t keep anything in, antiemetics don’t work, and you’re hypovolemic. If severe doesn’t have working definition at least for a set condition, the word loses all meaning and everyone with a cough will be severe if they complain enough or mild if they insist they’re fine up until the point that they code.

  4. You can’t prove she got sick BECAUSE of the hotel.

    On the second day of the vacation, only his wife had pork loin for dinner.”You can probably guess what happened next. Within 12 hours of the meal, Margaret Gordon became ill with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. She was confined to the room for the remainder of their stay.

    Who knows what she was in contact with prior to the second day at the hotel.
    And if one gets sick from the second till the eight day, then they will likely be weak and dehydrated after. Why didn’t she rehydrate while she was sick on the ground. Is there any mention of that?
    If there is no proof, then why lean on Marriott?

    1. “…then why lean on Marriott?”

      because they have deep pockets and it is my guess that the OP did NOT purchase travel insurance for this international trip.

        1. So now ALL INCLUSIVE = hotel is to blame for ALL health issues.
          No more need for travel insurance.
          I suppose this is the new message of Elliott’s site.

        1. he he see what happened now …
          If they bought trip insurance, their medical bills would be covered.
          But they have another agenda – they wanted a redo and even connected the fainting in the airplane to Marriott.
          Too bad for Marriott 🙁

  5. I couldn’t vote today… Who’s to judge if Marriott did too much? If both parties are happy and it came without the coercion of a media person writing a story, I’m fine with that. Would I have been upset if Marriott didn’t make the offer? Nope but they did and the Gordans are happy.

    Without knowing the timeline, it’s hard to speak to the case. 12 hours is within the incubation period for some food borne illnesses but a week of bed rest after the fact without hospitalization or doctor’s care seems to be a little excessive.

    1. We have no direct information about how old Mrs. Gordon is. The fact that both Mr. and Mrs. Gordon are not comfortable using a computer leads me to surmise that they are both elderly. Recovery time from an illness for an elderly person could be much longer than it would be for a thirty or forty year old.

      1. @jim6555:disqus My point on the second paragraph may have been lost … Based on the narrative, it seems like she could have been sick for as long as two weeks without seeing her doc. Even if I have the stomach flu, I’m seeing my doc after a week in bed especially if I needed an IV. If someone had to stick me while on a plane, first call when the wheels hit is to my doc. She may have and it got cut in the editing processes.

        1. Yes this is extremely unfortunate that it resulted into an EMERGENCY situation on a return flight 6 days LATER than the onset of the food poisoning symptoms.

          We are arguing about a redo in a resort casino when the real issue is one of HEALTHCARE. Sorry this is sick.

  6. I am always skeptical about gastro-intestinal illnesses that show up within 24-48 hours of first eating at a resort. Such illnesses, like norovirus, can be easily picked up in airplanes and airports, as well as other public places she might have visited. Since Marriott gave the couple a lodging redo, I am inclined to think Mrs. Gordon might not have been the only person suffering from this illness. We will never really know for sure how she contracted the illness but Marriott’s compensation seems to be an indication.

    1. Great point! Maybe other people complained, and, in order to stave off any lawsuits and publicity, Marriott gave ’em compensation. (And maybe another guest or guests, but we can’t know if the “generosity” did the trick of keeping the lid on.)

      My bet is that there was more than one instance of this sickness, and Marriott has made nice to all involved to keep this quiet!

    2. I must disagree with your assumption that Marriott’s compensation seems to be an indication of their guilt, etc. When I had problems (there have been few over the 20 years) with a Marriott brand hotel, they have been more than fair in the compensation.

      For example, I received 25,000 points from Marriott when a Marriott brand hotel in Texas sent a package with the wrong level of overnight service. One of my co-workers was in Texas for a demo. After his demo, he went to the business office to ship the demo equipment and requested next-day service but the person selected 2-day service. We (the local sales rep, the sales engineer and myself) were waiting at a Marriott brand hotel in Seattle for the package which arrived one day late which caused us to reschedule the demo.

      Sometimes, it is cheaper to give a refund, discount or etc. than to fight itargue itetc. even if you are 100% correct and the clientcustomer is 100% at fault.

      1. Your example shows that Marriott compensated you when they had done something wrong–not when the origin of the problem was rather murky. These are two different sets of circumstances. Since Marriott changed their initial compensation offer to something significantly more generous I simply wondered if that was an indication of where the problem began.

        1. It is common for a lot of companies to low ball their initial compensation.

          Recently, a local store offered $ 100 discount to my niece but the final discount ended up at $ 600 after I explained to my niece, her family and the retailer that costs that the manufacturer will encounter in fixing the problem.

          In regards to the shipping incident, the Marriott hotel in Texas initially didn’t offer any compensation and didn’t even want to refund the difference between Next Day Service (which was what my co-worker paid for) and 2nd Day Service. It was the General Manager that intervened and made the situation right and offered me compensation for the additional costs that my team encountered when we were waiting in Seattle.

  7. Bad things happen sometimes. That’s life. People should stop trying to get others to pay for their bad experiences and just move on.

      1. It’s almost like a game — see how bad things can get without causing permanent damage so that they can get a full refund.

      2. Not just Americans. I was on a BA flight last month where the British couple behind me demanded compensation because one of their video screens was not working. One of them even noted the length of time the video screen was dark and assigned it a percentage of his ticket cost and wanted the money before he left the plane.

    1. I’m guessing sick travelers would be willing to stay off airlines if airlines and hotels would be more accommodating to revising itinerary.

      1. Why do you expect a travel provider to assume the risk of a traveler getting sick?

        There are refundable airfares and hotel room rates. Can’t afford to purchase a refundable fare or rate then purchase travel insurance or assume the risks.

        I will doubt that travelers will be willing to pay the airfares or hotel room rates if all airfares and hotel room rates were fully refundable, etc.

        1. If I check in a hospital and I get sick from another patient, is the hospital gonna pay for my extended stay? 🙂
          People expect too much for all inclusives.

        2. That’s a good question, let me give you an answer. On my last day in Peru I got hit with either a nasty bug/food poisoning. I could barely walk, felt nauseous all the time, had terrible gas, but I only vomited once – so I had that going for me. My flight from Cusco to Lima was without any problems. But for Lima to NYC, I threw up the moment they brought the food cart by me. I was stuck and couldn’t get the sickness bag in time.

          If I could have switched my flights for $100 and the cost of the hotel, I would have done that in a heartbeat. But we were looking at a cost of $800 to redo my ticket. (trip insurance might have helped, but that’s always a crapshoot). So for $800 or so? The airlines and my fellow passengers can suffer with me.

          1. You had the option of purchasing a refundable fare but you didn’t. If you purchased a refundable fare then it won’t have been a problem for you to switch your flights.

            You had the option of purchasing travel insurance but you didn’t. If you purchased travel insurance then it won’t have been a problem for you to switch your flights.

            The airline(s) waswere not responsible for you getting sick but you expected the airline(s) to lose $ 700 ($ 800 – $ 100) in revenues because of the choices you selected on your own free will.

            Again, why do you expect the airline(s) to eat $ 700 because of your choices?

          2. Eat the fare, no. Allowing someone on another flights doesn’t necessarily cause the airline additional money.

          3. True – which is why changing at the airport (where they can clearly see you do not feel/look well) is usually so much easier — it is obvious to them you are ill, and they don’t want you onboard in that state, either.

          4. What do you think is more expensive, the airlines eating “$700” or the cabin crew dealing with my puke, a delay in turning over the airplane and the general discomfort of my fellow passengers.

            Travel insurance is nice (and I think I did have it for this trip) but it’s always a risk because I have to pay out first and there’s enough fine print in those travel insurance that I might not get paid.

            I did the best thing for me and everybody else suffered.

          5. Yup. You had an issue with the fact that the airline wouldn’t make a special exception for you and you decided to punish everyone around you. Nicely done.

          6. And I’m sure almost everyone else on that plane does too. They probably can’t afford to take much time off, even if you got them sick by leaving your germs on surfaces they touched. I’m pretty sure being responsible is more than being “a nice guy”, not that it apparently matters to you.

          7. That’s a risk we all take when we travel.
            Sometimes you are the vomiter, sometimes you are the vomitee.

          8. The risk would be minimized if people actually cared about what happens to other people. It’s one thing to throw up because you got air sick, it’s another to know you’re ill and just not care who you infect.

          9. I think your contract with the airline says you should not be in the flight if you are sick or something like that.

          10. You could probably get switched if you went to the gate agent – believe me, they do NOT want an ill person onboard – and will work with you (over the phone, you could just be BSing them)!

  8. Way to go travel agent and Marriott. I am not surprised – in my experience few companies are better with customer service than Marriott. I have stayed in the “Tradewinds” section several times. They have a concierge on duty in that lounge during open hours just for that sub-group of guests. Nothing would be easier than summoning a doctor. These folks have a whole book of numbers and it isn’t just for restaurant reservations. So why no doctor? Also who else got sick? Should we believe that Mrs. Gordon was the only one who got sick from “tainted food”? I think they got a freebie here. I also think it was really dumb not to get a doctor. Aruba’s medical care is 1st world, not 3rd world.

        1. That’s what I thought, too. But it looks like their travel agent was remiss at providing it. Maybe too excited at the commission for the overpriced upgraded stay in Aruba.

          1. You are assuming they would have accepted it — these sound like older passengers, and they tend to find the cost of insurance too high. Unfortunately!

    1. There could have been other cases of “food poisoning” reported to the resort from people who ate pork around the same that the Gordon’s were there. If so, Marriott could have realized that it was in their best interest to settle all claims and keep the media from finding out about what occurred.

      1. Given the generosity of their offer, I would not be at all surprised if there were other people sickened. Seems like an amazing amount of compensation if this was some random case from out of the blue.

  9. So the couple stayed at the Marriott the entire time they were on vacation, never stepping off the property, never taking any excursions around the island, never having maybe so much as a cold drink somewhere off property? Only then can you think that maybe the food at the resort caused the illness. Did they eat on the way to Aruba? Maybe on the plane, maybe in one of the airports they stopped at along the way? There are just too many variables involved to determine where the illness was actually contracted.

    But, since Marriott caved and gave them a very generous reimbursement, I believe that there may have been several who came own with the illness after eating that night.

    My concern is there is no mention at all of seeing a doctor other than the one on the plane. If I was that sick that I collapsed while walking down the aisle on a plane and then required a week of bed rest to feel better, you bet I would be seeing a doctor.

    And they have IV equipment on a plane? Wow, the things you learn. Most airlines I have flown on do good to carry aspirin on the planes.

        1. Coconut water would work as IV fluid according to my (wiki) son 🙂

          Hmm… apparently the kid is correct: ncbi.nlm.nih dot gov/pubmed/10674546

          1. I thought is was a joke. Hopefully we don’t see another world war to test it.

            What’s not a joke is this lady’s health. She had no business being in that flight is she was that sick.

    1. A lot depends on the details and we don’t have that information. Did it really require a full week or did she decide to play it safe in the aftermath of collapsing on the plane? Nobody wants to collapse anywhere, but depending on the circumstances it needn’t have been all that serious. Dehydration is common from illnesses like this and can make you light-headed.

      I can imagine somebody lying about the room with a queasy stomach for several days without it ever crossing the line to where she thought it was doctor-worthy, only to get light-headed when she tried to move about. And plenty of people have an aversion to seeking healthcare abroad.

      1. I’m thinking of my elderly mother. She won’t see a doctor unless I drag her there. “Oh, it’s nothing. I’ll just wait – it’ll go away. I don’t want to bother anyone. Thank of how much it will cost! I’m spoiling things for everyone else.” So I can see perfectly well why Mrs. Gordon didn’t want to escalate the medical care she received while at the hotel.

        For my mother, the next to last time it was “nothing”, she ended up in the ER and moved to a bed for 3 days, then a nursing facility for a month. The last time it was the ER, 8 days in the hospital and skilled nursing for 6 weeks.

        1. If you do that (chose not to see a doctor) then what is your claim against the hotel?
          Collapsing (or losing consciousness) on a flight can be pretty serious.
          You can also inconvenience a lot of innocent passengers.

          1. Yes I did. And I read this part a long time ago –
            I wrote to the evaluator and advised him to check with the house MD, the pharmacist, the house staff, the front desk, etc. and he reported there was no way to confirm the claim.

            There is nothing there, especially coming from a third party, which provides any proof of anything. If I saw a doctor, you can be damn sure I got his/her name.

            In fact I can turn this around by saying the Travel Agent neglected to sell them travel insurance and is now covering his/her butt trying to blame deep-pockets Marriott.

  10. My husband I got food poisoning sick while on vacation but we didn’t discover what it was from until we got home. We had a message on our answering machine that said I had purchased peaches that may have been contaminated with listeria. Re-thinking whether I should contact the peach company and ask for them to pay for us to return to the resort so we
    can enjoy our vacation instead of spending it chained to the bathroom. Lovely bathroom but not how I envisioned our trip.

  11. Probably can’t prove that the hotel made the woman sick, but for the cost of lodging for another vacation, Marriott probably ensured that this couple will keep returning to their properties in the long run. You can spin it as compassion but it probably makes sense from an actuarial perspective benefiting the bottom line too!

  12. At least Marriott offered something. We were with a group of friends @ SANDALS ST. LUCIA. All inclusive resort @ $500 a night & 8 people at the resort got quite sick that we know of. My wife & I went to the nurse @ the Resort & she advised food poisoning! We were told to go to their on site store & buy some medicine. Went later to the front desk to ask for AT THE VERY LEAST they pay for the medication, nothing else & they refused even that. We were sick only for a couple days. Sandals will never see any of us ever again! This occurred Jan 2013

    1. Mass food preparation and mass consumption often leads to bad stuff.
      That’s why I do not go to all inclusive anything.

  13. If this had happened at a property in the United States, there would have been a lawsuit. Ambulance chasers would have been all over this one.

    Because it’s in Aruba and the couple has returned to the USA, it’s too much trouble to sue and the property (most likely an individually owned Marriott franchise), and Marriott are getting off easy. Suing Marriott in the USA would be pointless as well, they’d move to have it dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, as the incident didn’t happen in the USA and maintain that the case be tried in a court in Aruba (rightly so). Nevertheless, I think Marriott did a lot more for them than most other hotel chains (or non-chain resorts), or cruise lines would have done, so kudos to Marriott. I would think these people would continue to patronize Marriott after this, perhaps even more so.

  14. I was sickened like that when I was vacationing in Jamaica a couple of years ago. It took me a good month to recover. I never once thought to ask for a vacation do over. To this day, I have no idea what sickened me. When I got home my doc ran all kinds of tests, and they all came back negative. I am looking forward to returning to Jamaica.

  15. What OP should have done is find out, while still at the resort, whether anyone else who ate the pork loin that night also got sick, OR whether other guests came down with something like norovirus at the same time. So long after the fact, there’s no way to tell.

    1. How would that improve her health condition?
      Why is everyone so focused on the suing and compensation part of the story?

      1. Chris’s question was whether or not the hotel offered enough compensation. I see nothing in Alan’s comment about suing. it is reasonable to find out if it was just this one woman or others who got sick so they know if it was the pork or if she got sick somewhere else before the hotel.

        1. It’s not Alan per se. Read what the others are saying.
          The people who should be doing any questioning about food are the hotel or medical professionals, not us.

          1. She did receive medical help on the ground – see the article, where the TA is describing the documentation that should have been in Marriott’s files:

            “I wrote to the evaluator and advised him to check with the house MD, the pharmacist, the house staff, the front desk, etc. and he reported there was no way to confirm the claim.”

            If the house MD didn’t send her to the hospital, why would the Gordons go on their own? I can see their thinking: A doctor was already aware of the situation, he didn’t think it was a big deal, we can just wait it out . . .”.

          2. So Jeanne, are you saying a medical person saw her in Aruba and opined her condition is not serious enough to be hospitalized or cut their vacation short – so continue the whole vacation and enjoy Aruba? If this is the case, then what is the problem? Why are they blaming the hotel?

          3. If precisely what you said happened, that a doctor saw her and said no big deal, and she collapsed later, then I would call that malpractice. We’re in the realm of speculation there.

            Facts as presented in the article: she got sick. A number of folks at the resort were aware that she got sick, including a doctor.

            What we don’t know: What the hotel doctor told her, such as diagnosis, or prognosis, or what to do if this condition lasted. If she had trip insurance or not. If Mrs. Gordon felt “better” or at least well enough to get home or if she felt poorly and flew regardless.

            What I am saying is that in the absence of those facts, I can certainly hypothesize why things turned out so poorly for Mrs. Gordon, based on my own experience with an elderly parent.

          4. As you can see, I have been questioning the lack of info about her condition from day 2 to day 7+ of their stay. Why is this such a big secret? Is anyone hiding something?

            Re: A number of folks at the resort were aware that she got sick, including a doctor — I think Marriott cannot or does not want to confirm this, right?

            If she presented herself in the airport as very sick then they airline
            would have not allowed her to board. In other words, in a way she is declaring she is fit to fly when she checked in. So it is possible that after 5-6 days she was already well and she fainted in the airplane for some other reason.

          5. Or, she thought she could tough it out to get home.

            Or, the dryness of the airplane cabin was just enough to push her over the edge.

            Or, the pixie dust she sprinkled on herself wore off.

            I don’t know.

          6. Which brings me to my next point. Why do sick people like her think they have the privilege to put other passengers at risk or inconvenience? If she became unconscious the pilot would have to divert.

          7. Tony, a couple of people on this thread have discussed flying while sick because they thought they were well enough to get home. (Except for the one person, who thought it was okay since it would cost extra money to change the flight.) Maybe Mrs. Gordon thought she was well enough to fly. I don’t know.

            I’ve explained why I posted what I did. My day hasn’t been sunshine and unicorns, although I did pick up some more chocolate during my travels today. (And no, they don’t provide ice for shipping – I checked.) I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m going to go do something useful around the house now, like weeding and cooking supper.

  16. I think it needs to be determined when one is at the facility what the cause is. The hotel needs to know immediately when there is a health risk.

    When I encountered some bad food practices at a hotel recently, I called the local health board and they sent inspectors to correct the activity. In fact, although I think it is appropriate to alert hotels when there is a problem, it is also advisable to file a complaint with the regulatory authority. Which would work in most places, except in Atlanta, where they have big problems and don’t seem to answer the phone.

  17. Not totally buying the OP’s story. I doubt that the wife was the only person at the entire resort who ate the pork loin, so why wasn’t there an outbreak of food poisoning? Falling ill on the second day reeks of something contracted elsewhere. The worst thing about Marriott’s capitulation in this case is that it makes them a target for scammers with even less legitimacy.

  18. The way this is written it is trying to convince the reader to assume there is a connection between the alleged food poisoning (that happened 6 days prior) and the fainting during the return flight. But is it? Can you really make a sound medical connection between the two?

    For that to be believable, the LW’s wife had to have dehydrated more in the past 6 days (Instead of recovering) before taking a flight. What’s the probability of that happening without seeing a doctor and the doctor not making sure you are re-hydrated?

    Collapsing during a flight can be caused by different reasons. While I have not yet collapsed while on a flight, I have done so in a number of occasions due to a bad stomach, heat stroke on a beach, and too much fun (i.e. alcohol).

    So I have to ask is there proof she passed out due to food poisoning that happened 6 days prior?

  19. If she or her husband knew she was sick, they are misguided people since she should not be in the flight at all.

    From the World Health Organization (WHO)

    Travellers with medical conditions or special needs

    Airlines have the right to refuse to carry passengers with conditions that may worsen, or have serious consequences, during the flight. They may require medical clearance from their medical department/adviser if there is an indication that a passenger could be suffering from any disease or physical or mental condition that:

    – may be considered a potential hazard to the safety of the aircraft;
    – adversely affects the welfare and comfort of the other passengers and/or crew members;
    – requires medical attention and/or special equipment during the flight;
    – may be aggravated by the flight.

    1. But if she was showing no obvious symptoms at check in or boarding and didn’t inform the airline of her condition, how are they to know?

      1. They don’t have to catch you. The point is passengers ‘declare’ they are fit to fly. If you know you are sick with ebola, you can infect the whole plane and cause massive damage. I am trying to point out the need for personal responsibility here. If you are sick, then don’t fly.

        1. I agree with you completely. however, most people out there will convince themselves they are not that sick.

  20. If it was undercooked food, I would think there would be several people presenting this same issue. If there are not, sounds less likely to be food borne.

  21. From a business standpoint, Marriott did a smart thing. Their generosity doesn’t set a precedent, and leaves a good taste with all who were made aware of the situation. They obviously were responding to the wide influence Christopher Elliott has with the traveling public. I’ll bet their only regret was to not settle the matter at an earlier point.

  22. This is a truly horrible story, my heart goes out to them. But people need to step back and look at the whole picture. If a hotel compensates a guest for getting sick, they would be overrun by people SAYING they were sick so they could get a free vacation. Very difficult to prove exactly what made her sick and who is responsible. If several other people got sick, perhaps the hotel would do something, but one individual? It surely is an awful experience but it does happen quite often. We know very little about how our food is treated before it arrives on our plate.

  23. BTW, you haven’t LIVED until you throw up all over first class as the plane lands in Houston. I had no warning whatever. The most mortifying situation I’ve ever experienced, but the EMTs and cops made me feel better physically and mentally when they told me that it happens all the time.

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