A WOMAN spent nine weeks in intensive care after falling ill with Legionnaire’s disease after a holiday abroad.

Patricia Pybus, 58, and husband Roger, 59, from Northallerton, travelled to Sardinia last August for a luxury break at the Hotel Pulicinu.

But on the fifth day of their holiday at the four-star hotel, Mrs Pybus became unwell, feeling feverish and lethargic with stomach cramps, nausea, headaches and diarrhoea.

On her return home, she was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia which the hospital confirmed was caused by Legionella pneumophila.

Mrs Pybus was heavily sedated in intensive care for the first two weeks and had to undergo a tracheotomy. She spent nine weeks in total in the unit but is now back at home.

However, she continues to suffer side effects such as shortness of breath which means she continues to find it difficult to even walk upstairs.

She has also been unable to return to work as a waitress at Bettys Tea Rooms and is reliant upon her husband for day-to-day tasks.

“At first we just thought it was a simple case of sunstroke but it became clear very quickly that things were much worse than that,” said Patricia.

“I have lost months of my life from being in intensive care, not to mention the distress and anxiety my family were put through, not knowing if I would ever come round from it.”

Now, she has instructed personal injury specialists at lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate the conditions at the hotel.

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria and usually develops after breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.

The couple claim conditions in their hotel room were substandard and the air conditioning unit was rusty, continuously dripping with water and that automatic louvres on the unit were not working properly.

Travel injury expert and solicitor Jennifer Mullins, who is representing the couple, said: “This case highlights just how serious Legionnaires’ disease is and the potential for victims’ lives to be put at risk.

“They deserve answers about what caused this serious illness.

“We have begun our own investigations into how Patricia contracted Legionnaires’ disease in order to provide Patricia with the answers she deserves.

“The couple believe other people were ill at the hotel and are asking anyone who stayed there last summer to contact us as they may be able to help us with our inquiries.”