A MAN who spent a month in a coma after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease following a holiday in Spain has instructed lawyers to investigate.

David Marshall, a retired union official, aged 79, from Nelson, has described how he developed symptoms including confusion, a productive cough, shortness of breath, kidney pains and diarrhoea and vomiting during a family holiday.

The symptoms started during the second week of a two-week stay at the four-star Hotel Presidente in Benidorm, where David was holidaying with his wife, Dorothy, as well as his son and daughter-in-law. The holiday was booked in the UK with Jet2 Holidays.

After arriving back in the UK and with his condition deteriorating, David was rushed to Royal Blackburn Hospital in an ambulance.

He was diagnosed with Legionella Pneumonia and placed into a coma, in intensive care, for a month.

David, who was suffering from organ failure, underwent a tracheotomy through the neck to help him breathe.

He spent six weeks in hospital, continues to suffer from breathlessness and has lost over four stone in weight.

He has now instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he developed the illness “that changed his life”.

David has told his legal team he believes the hotel had re-opened just days before he arrived, after being closed for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jennifer Hodgson, the specialist international serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing David, said: “David has undergone a terrible experience and unfortunately he is still living with various health issues following his illness.

"This includes suffering with memory loss and breathlessness.

“We have supported many people who have developed Legionnaires’ disease, both abroad and in the UK, and know only too well how dangerous the health implications of this disease can be.

“Legionnaires’ Disease can lead to long-term illness and sadly can even prove fatal.

"Water systems and air conditioning units, that have lain dormant for several months, can be ideal breeding grounds for the bacteria, which causes the disease.

“We’re now investigating how David contracted his illness, which includes looking into his stay at the Hotel Presidente and are determined to provide him with the answers and ongoing support that he needs.

“As part of our work and to assist with our investigations, we would be keen to hear from anyone else who may also have been affected by illness whilst staying at the Hotel Presidente, Benidorm.

“Following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, it’s vital that the source is identified as soon as possible.

"If any members of the public start experiencing any symptoms, it’s crucial that they seek immediate medical advice.”

David departed for Benidorm on July 21, 2020, returning to the UK on August 3.

David recalled the air conditioning in his room was noisy and dripped water. On one occasion it left a pool of water on the floor. He was also advised there was still only skeleton staff at the hotel due to low occupancy.

Commenting on his experience, David said: “This holiday was meant to be a much needed break after what had been a difficult time during lockdown, however it turned into a nightmare.

“I’ve never been the same since the illness; it’s changed my life. My memory isn’t what it was and I’m now easily out of breath. However, in a way I know I’m lucky, as things could have been much worse.

“My family were scared that I wouldn’t survive. It saddens me that they were put through such an ordeal while I was in a coma and that they were forced to face the possibility that I may not survive.

“I was so unwell towards the end of the holiday and I was desperate to get home, before it was too late. I’m lucky to still be here, but I want to find out how this happened.

“Right now, I’m taking one day at a time, but it’s devastating to think I might not make a full recovery and that my health might be permanently damaged.

“I think answers are the least that I deserve and more people need to be aware of the risks of Legionnaires’, and that it is still a very real danger.”