Couple whose baby had limbs amputated after ‘falling ill’ on cruise ship seeking damages

A couple whose baby had her feet and several fingers amputated from sepsis after “falling ill” on a cruise ship are seeking damages to help pay for her care.

Phoebe Moon was less than a year old when she had to have limbs removed following her first-ever family holiday earlier this year – and her mum and dad feel like more could have been done while on the ship.

Her parents say it’s difficult for them to come to terms with how her life has changed and they are upset and angry.

Mum Aimee and dad Luke claim they sought medical advice five times in 12 hours while on board Symphony of the Seas, which is run by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

“Phoebe was incredibly poorly and needed urgent treatment,” Luke said.

But they claim their baby was only taken off the boat around 24 hours after first seeking advice – despite allegedly showing symptoms including lethargy, dehydration and vomiting.

Phoebe was transported to a hospital in St Maarten, where she was diagnosed with sepsis – where the body attacks itself to fight an infection – and bacterial meningitis.

Phoebe pictured here with her dad Luke

She was then taken to Miami, US, by air ambulance, 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 eventually allowed to return to Britain by medical flight and spent a further month in hospital upon her return.

Aimee and Luke, from Gwent, Wales, are now taking action through lawyers as they believe more could have been done to help Phoebe while on the cruise.

Specialist firm Irwin Mitchell has issued legal proceedings in Florida, from where the boat set sail, and where a higher award of damages can potentially be made.

Phoebe Moon, from Gwent, Wales, fell seriously ill, her parents said

The company says that a larger sum is needed to help support Phoebe for the rest of her life and provide her with prosthetics and other therapy.

But, in a statement, Irwin Mitchell added that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and RCL Cruises Ltd have argued the case should be heard in Britain – where a settlement for Phoebe would be capped at around £400,000.

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

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

Here the baby is pictured with her mum

“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.”

Phoebe in hospital with sepsis

Aimee and Luke, both 31, booked the week-long cruise to celebrate the 60th birthday of his mum, Judith.

The four departed on February 22 but they claim, two days later, nine-month-old Phoebe became sick.

Aimee says she then took Phoebe, who had a high temperature, to the on-board medical centre at around 8am.

After an examination, they claim Phoebe was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and the pair were told to stay in their cabin and return at 4pm.

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

Phoebe then developed a rash, they claim, and the family say they visited the medical centre a further three times, during the afternoon and evening.

They claim at 8pm, on the family’s fifth visit, they refused to leave because they said Phoebe was so unwell and they claim they pleaded with the doctor to give Phoebe antibiotics – a request they allege was initially refused.

The family say they then pleaded to be evacuated from the ship in the early hours of February 23, but they claim this was rejected.

They say they did not disembark the ship until it docked in St Maarten at 8am and Phoebe was taken to hospital – where the family claim they were told her chances of survival were slim.

Phoebe’s parents are proud of the bravery she has shown

She has also developed complications with her kidneys since and has had prosthetic limbs fitted, which she will need regular revision throughout her life.

Phil Banks, of Irwin Mitchell, said: “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.”

A spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said: “Our thoughts are with the family during this challenging time. We do not comment on pending litigation.”

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