British tourist wins case against Abu Dhabi hotel

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A British tourist has won a five-year battle for compensation after suffering a severe injury at a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, according to Arabian Business’ sister publication Hotelier Middle East.

Emirates Palace Hotel, Kempinski Hotels and Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC) have been ordered to pay AED200,000 (US$54,450) to former guest Natalie Creane, who was hit in the head with a loose wooden panel when she opened a wardrobe door in her hotel room in July, 2008.

Creane, 33, had been staying at the Emirates Palace Hotel with her husband and stepson when the panel fell from an audio visual unit, hitting the front of her head and knocking her unconscious, according to an account of the incident published on the ‘Justice for Natalie’ Facebook page.

The Facebook page, which was set up by her family in 2012 and has nearly 24,000 supporters, says Creane was found by a hotel staff member. Rather than calling an ambulance, the hotel’s duty manager drove her to a nearby hospital.

“With no prior history of such problems, she began to suffer from horrendous seizures and was suffering from the horrendous effects of a major concussion and was, therefore, incapacitated for months and months,” the page says.

Creane’s family says she has since been diagnosed with post traumatic intractable refractory epilepsy and traumatic brain injury and suffers regular seizures that cause her to suddenly collapse, often causing further injuries including broken bones and fractures.

“She has been in five comas and on ventilators, had blood clots in her lung and leg, extreme blood toxicity, paralysis, temporary loss of sight, massive hair loss, severe debilitating headaches, temporary loss of speech, confusion, permanent memory loss, insomnia, constant infections due to suppressed immunity and over 20 stays in intensive care,” the Facebook page says.

“Natalie [a former regional director for a global company] has lost her career, her independence and has had over 45 admissions to hospitals over the last four years, many via emergency.”

After nearly five years, a court decision was made on February 27 awarding Creane AED200,000 to cover past medical bills, future treatment, loss of earnings until retirement age and emotional damages.

Creane’s family are appealing the decision, arguing the compensation is insufficient.

They say she urgently needs specialist neurological treatment that is only available at a centre specialising in traumatic brain injuries, which costs “hundreds of thousands of dollars”, as well as ongoing surgery and cognitive therapy.

Days after the court decision, Creane was again put into an induced coma in Rashid Hospital, Dubai.

“This is the sixth time since the accident in the Kempinski-managed hotel in 2008 that my wonderful girl has been put in this life-threatening situation following terrifying seizures that will not stop,” Creane’s mother posted on her daughter’s Facebook support page on March 3.

“Today, I watched her as she fell into a coma, her face was grey - she could not speak, her beautiful eyes were unseeing. I could not believe that this was happening to her again.

“I watched as her broken-hearted dad helped the paramedics lift her onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. I sat in the ambulance and watched over my girl as it sped through the streets in this land so far from home.

“Now I must watch the face of her beloved husband as he returns from her side to try to rest. How much longer can my girl go through this. I am terrified that I may watch her die.”

Creane’s family claim the hotel has done nothing to help her, describing the once lively woman’s life as “ruined”.

In a statement sent to Hotelier Middle East, a spokesperson for Kempinski Hotels said it noted the court decision and would “carefully study” it before commenting further.

Creane’s family are appealing for public donations.

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