Gwent Couple’s Daughter Has Feet And Fingers Amputated After Sepsis

Girl Fell Ill On-Board Royal Caribbean Symphony Of The Seas Cruise Liner

A Welsh couple whose baby had her feet and several fingers amputated after developing sepsis have instructed expert lawyers to help them secure the specialist life-long help their daughter now requires.

Phoebe Moon, was nine-months-old when she fell ill while on a Caribbean cruise. Her parents reported she was pale, lethargic, dehydrated and had been vomiting.

Her parents, Aimee and Luke, of Tredegar, Gwent, sought medical advice five times in 12 hours while aboard the Symphony of the Seas ship operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Around 24 hours after first seeking advice, Phoebe was taken off the boat and to a hospital in St Maarten. She was diagnosed with sepsis, where the body attacks itself in response to an infection, and bacterial meningitis.

That night she was transported by air ambulance to hospital in Miami where she was admitted for two months. During this time doctors amputated her feet and all of the fingers from her left hand as they continued to battle to save her life..  Phoebe was allowed to return to the UK by medical flight and upon her return she spent a further month in hospital.

Aimee and Luke, both aged 31, have instructed expert international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell as they strongly believe more could have been done to help Phoebe on-board the ship and help her access the specialist support and rehabilitation she now requires.

The legal experts are working alongside lawyers in the USA. They have issued legal proceedings in Florida, from where the boat set sail, and where potentially a higher award of damages can be made to help support Phoebe for the rest of her life and provide her with the prosthetics and other therapy that she will need.

However, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and RCL Cruises Ltd have argued the case should be heard in the UK where a settlement for Phoebe would be capped at around £400,000. This would be completely inadequate to provide for her long term needs, the family’s legal team argue.

Expert Opinion

“What happened to Phoebe is tragic, the impact of which will have lifetime consequences for her as well as Aimee and Luke.

The severity of her injuries and the lasting impact they will have on her life can’t be underestimated. We strongly disagree with Royal Caribbean’s position that the case should be heard in the UK. This would potentially deny her access to justice and would mean that she would be hopelessly undercompensated.

This is one of the most tragic cases I have been involved in during my 25 year career. While a settlement of a few hundred thousand pounds may sound like a lot of money, this would be completely inadequate to fund the specialist equipment, rehabilitation and therapies as well as the specialist support workers which we believe Phoebe requires.

It is our view that Phoebe was displaying symptoms of bacterial meningitis when on-board the ship and the ship’s medics should have done more to investigate her symptoms.

At the heart of this is a girl who has suffered the most traumatic start to life. We are determined to secure justice for the family.

Sepsis is an incredibly serious condition. Therefore it’s vital that people are aware of the signs of sepsis and the need to obtain medical help as soon as possible.”
Philip Banks – Partner

Aimee  and Luke booked the seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise to celebrate the 60th birthday of Luke’s mum, Judith Moon. The cruise was also Phoebe’s first holiday.

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The four departed Miami on Saturday, 22 February. During the early hours of Monday Phoebe was sick. Aimee took Phoebe, who had a high temperature, to the on-board medical centre at around 8am. After an examination Phoebe was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and the pair were told to stay in their cabin and return at 4pm.

However, they returned to the medical centre at around 2pm as Phoebe’s temperature remained high and she was lethargic.

Phoebe then developed a rash and the family visited the medical centre a further three times, during the afternoon and evening.  At 8pm, on the family’s fifth visit, they refused to leave because they said Phoebe was so unwell and pleaded with the doctor to give Phoebe antibiotics, which the doctor initially refused.

The family pleaded to be evacuated from the ship in the early hours of 23 February but this was rejected. They did not disembarked the ship until  it docked in St Maarten at 8am on 23 February and Phoebe was taken to hospital where the family were told her chances of survival were slim.

Phoebe has also developed complications with her kidneys. She has had prosthetic limbs fitted and these will need regular revision throughout her life.

Aimee said: “Seeing Phoebe in so much distress was absolutely heart-breaking. It was the most traumatic experience we will ever go through.

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Phoebe was pale, lethargic, feverish, and dehydrated. Her pulse was fast and she had been vomiting intermittently. 

“When we eventually got to hospital the doctors there were doing everything they could and I remember them saying she was minutes from death and her blood pressure was dropping and dropping.

“Those first few weeks when Phoebe continued to fight for her life hooked up to all kind of machines were horrific.

“This was our first family holiday together and it’s something that we will never forget because of what happened.”

Luke added: “Eight months on it’s still difficult to come to terms with what happened to Phoebe and how her life has changed. However, we know how lucky we are that Phoebe is still in our lives

“We are so proud of the bravery she was shown. It really was touch and go whether she would make it.

“We are very angry and upset at what happened on the ship and how we were treated by Royal Caribbean. Phoebe was incredibly poorly and needed urgent treatment.  We are determined to ensure Phoebe has the best life possible.”

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in handling international serious injury cases


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