Woman sues over catching Legionnaires’ Disease in luxury hotel spa

A woman who went to Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry to celebrate her wedding anniversary ended up in an induced coma after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease after using the hotel’s spa facilities, the High Court has heard.

Mary Kelleher (55) was in the coma for three weeks and was discharged from hospital after 54 days in a wheelchair.

She and her husband Jer Kelleher, of Ballyshoneen, Waterfall, Co Cork, decided to “splash out” and stay in the five-star luxury hotel to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in advance of special Mass and party at their home.

She told the court on Wednesday that she went to the spa after checking-in on August 6th, 2015 and “tried everything” including the pool, sauna, steam room and hot and cold spa pools. She said the couple were “on top of the world and very happy” as they checked-out but within days she felt unwell, had aching muscles and was very tired.

“I put it down to the late night at the party. The house was full of food and I had no appetite,” she said.

Mrs Kelleher went to a doctor on August 12th, 2015 and a viral infection was suspected. She said it was “like my muscles were losing power”. When she went to another doctor on August 16th, 2015, she was told she had pneumonia and was transferred to Bon Secours Hospital in Cork.

“I can remember being admitted and put in a ward but I don’t remember anything else,” she said.

Counsel said Mrs Kelleher suffered life changing injuries and at one stage in hospital her husband was told nothing more could be done for her. Her quality of life has deteriorated since and is never going to recover, and she now suffers from considerable chronic fatigue, he said.

Mr Sreenan said a HSE incident control team was convened on August 18th, 2015 to look into the matter. Bacteria was traced back to the hotel and the indoor cold spa pool was thought to be the most likely source of infection and it was decommissioned, he said.

Through a Freedom of Information request, his client gained access to the report on the incident relating to herself and other suspected cases since 2010. She became “very frustrated” and this fed into her upset and distress about the incident.

The case continues on Thursday.

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