Grandmother died after 425 mile taxi ride

Carol Whymark
Carol Whymark

It was a family nightmare when Carol Whymark died about 20 hours after a hotel provided a 425-mile taxi ride home from Scotland where she was taken ill on holiday.

But her daughter Sharone Whymark is now even more angry having just discovered it was the second such incident involving Loch Achray Hotel in Callander.

She says Carol began the journey home to Stanton, without the hotel providing appropriate medical advice, only three weeks after Norma Francis, 79, died shortly after the same hotel put her in a taxi for the 300 mile trip to Stafford.

Mrs Francis had norovirus, but Sharone disputes the hotel’s claim her mother had its symptoms.

Sharone said this week: “I’ve lost my mum, my dad lost his wife and my daughter her nanny. I’m disgusted and this needs investigating.”

She last saw her 70-year-old mother well when she took her and her husband of 54 years Desmond to Bury St Edmunds bus station on April 24 for the coach holiday booked with Lochs and Glens Holidays.

Carol awoke on the 28th feeling unwell.

Sharone said: “Mum said she didn’t feel 100 per cent – there was no evidence of vomiting or loose stools.”

She says the hotel staff told her father it was norovirus and gave Desmond, 73, rubber gloves and left food and water outside their room.

“There was no medical attention at all,” Sharone said. “They said to my dad there was a 90 per cent chance he will catch the virus.

“When they came and said they would pay for a taxi, she said, ‘Yes, let’s go home’.”

When they arrived home Sharone called an ambulance but Carol died in intensive care of a heart attack the following day.

Sharone says the hotel told her Carol was assessed by a first aider. She added: “I work at West Suffolk Hospital and I know you need a stool sample to diagnose norovirus.”

Neil Wells, Managing Director for Lochs and Glens, said: “We were deeply saddened when we heard that Mrs Whymark had passed away.

“She stayed with us in April this year and became unwell shortly after her arrival reporting symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea overnight. She was assessed by our on-site team and felt well enough to travel home.

“The health and wellbeing of all our guests is always our number one priority and we take great care to look after everyone who stays on our premises. We always advise to seek further medical advice if symptoms change or worsen over time.”

When told the family stressed she had not had vomiting and diarrhoea, a Lochs and Glens spokeswoman said: “The Guest Illness Report states that Mrs Whymark complained of sickness and diarrhoea.

“Mrs Whymark was not diagnosed with norovirus it was suspected given her symptoms.”

Amandeep Dhillon, a partner and expert public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, represents the family of Norma Francis, said: “To hear that another guest has reportedly been sent home in this fashion, just three weeks after Norma’s death is both alarming and deeply concerning.

“We would urge Public Health bodies in Scotland to investigate practices at the hotel, if they have not already done so, in a swift but thorough manner to ensure the correct procedures are in place.”