Teacher nearly dies after 'contracting Legionnaires' disease while staying in four star hotel'
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A teacher nearly died and was forced into early retirement after allegedly contracting Legionnaires' disease following a stay at a four-star hotel.
For those not in the know, Legionnaires’ disease is a serious and potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by the legionella bacteria.
It's normally caught by breathing in droplets of water that have been contaminated as a result of water systems not being maintained properly.
Gary McClellan spent several days in hospital in intensive care after developing the disease, and his condition deteriorated so much that his family 'feared the worst'.
He had been working part-time as an assistant head teacher when he fell ill after staying overnight at Kent's Port Lympne Hotel in June 2021.
A few days after staying at the four-star establishment, the 68-year-old said he started to experience flu-like symptoms including aches, pains and dehydration.
His condition grew worse over the following days, and he was rushed to hospital later that month after suffering from chronic diarrhoea, bright orange urine, confusion, shortness of breath and sweats.
Following an investigation into the hotel, Public Health England reported that results for the shower’s hot and cold water supply came back positive for legionella.
Lawyers representing McClellan investigated the incident too and found another guest had also been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the same hotel in June 2021.
At the hospital, the retired teacher spent several days in intensive care with his family by his bedside.
Thankfully he pulled through - although the experience has had a long-lasting impact on his life.
McClellan, from Sandwich in Kent, said: "The time I spent in hospital was a blur, but I did realise that whatever was wrong with me was serious, and I was determined to fight for my life.
"It was such a frightening experience and, in many ways, I’m glad to still be here to talk about it, but months down the line, it’s clear my life is not the same and I fear that it will never be the same again.
"I was due to return to work full time. Instead of working full time, I could only manage a couple of days a week and, as of June 2022, made the decision to fully retire from a career that I loved."
He continued: "It has put me and my family through a terrible trauma, as they were forced to watch my declining health and as I went into intensive care, feared the worst.
"Now I want answers on what happened, for my own peace of mind and to draw a line under what has been a nightmare for me and the whole family."
Sarita Sharma, a lawyer representing McClellan and his family, said: "Gary’s experience is yet another example of the terrible and lasting impact Legionnaires’ disease can have on people’s physical and mental health.
"Having spent several days in intensive care, more than a year on Gary continues to suffer serious complications to such an extent that he has been unable to return to full-time work.
"We’re determined to help Gary and his family find the answers they need following his terrible experience which continues to have a massive impact on his life."
Sharma also highlighted the danger of Legionnaires’ disease and urged people to follow the 'strict guidelines' in place to control the development of the bacteria that causes it.
As well as answers, McClellan hopes the law firm can help him get funds to contribute to his rehabilitation which is still ongoing.
LADbible has contacted the Port Lympne Hotel for comment.