The family of an eight-year-old girl from Leeds is taking legal action against travel giant Thomas Cook after she was seriously injured in an accident while on holiday in Turkey.
Heidi-Ray Noble Steeples, of Tingley, ruptured her left kidney when she fell from the top of a play area slide onto a “poorly positioned” picket fence at a hotel in the resort of Oludeniz.
She subsequently had the kidney removed during two weeks of treatment in a Turkish hospital.
Heidi also developed pneumonia and suffered a bad reaction to plasters used on her wounds.
After travelling home to the UK, she had to go through a number of out-patient appointments with a renal specialist before being given the all-clear to return to school.
Her injuries mean she can no longer take part in a range of sports, including her beloved hobby of horse riding.
The accident happened in August 2012 on a holiday booked with Thomas Cook.
Afterwards, the hotel removed the fence and put up a sign saying that children should be supervised in the play area.
Heidi’s family has now instructed specialist lawyers at legal firm Irwin Mitchell to secure a settlement on her behalf.
The youngster’s mother, Sarah Noble Steeples, said: “Falling from that slide has changed her life forever and it could all so easily have been prevented if the resort had taken more care with the layout of its play area.
“It was heartbreaking to see Heidi in such pain on what should have been a really enjoyable holiday and it was an incredibly difficult time for the family.
“Whilst Heidi has made a good recovery, it is such a shame that she is no longer able to take part in the same activities that she did before the accident.
“It was very upsetting for Heidi to be told that she could not go back to horse riding.
“We want to make sure somebody takes responsibility for Heidi’s fall because there is no excuse for an eight year old having to go through this and having to adjust to life after the incident without being able to return to all of the things she used to love doing.”
Demetrius Danas, an international personal injury law specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Heidi’s life has been changed greatly because of the fall.
“Losing a kidney is a very serious, life changing event and a hugely stressful situation for anybody, let alone an eight year old girl.
“We have started legal action against Thomas Cook following the incident and have invited them to admit responsibility for what happened to Heidi.
“We hope that Thomas Cook will now work with us constructively to provide Heidi with a full and fair financial settlement for the injuries she has sustained and the treatment, care and support she has needed to date as well as any that she may require in the future.”
Asked about the case, a spokeswoman for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland said yesterday: “The health and safety of our customers is always our primary concern, so we were naturally very concerned to hear about Miss Noble Steeples’ accident while on holiday with us.
“As we are in the process of liaising directly with the family’s legal representative in relation to this, we are unable to provide any further comment at this time.”