A toddler was left fighting for his life after reportedly catching a deadly bug from Tui hotel buffet food.
Cillian Holt, one, was on a two week family holiday to Hurghada, Egypt, in June when he was rushed to hospital.
His parents Richard Holt and Lara Wilcocks claim the family were plagued with sickness and diarrhoea on the £2,500 holiday, which they allege was caused by the hotel buffet at the Jaz Bluemarine Resort.
A potentially deadly bug caused 20-month-old Cillian's kidneys to fail and his terrified parents said they thought their son "was going to die".
For 22 days the couple stayed by their son's bedside at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital, after he was diagnosed with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (STEC-HUS).
His condition even got so bad his parents brought Cillian's sisters Lily-Mae Foord, eight and Olivia Holt, five, to see him in case he didn't pull through, reports the Liverpool Echo.
However after undergoing a number of blood transfusions, a four-hour long operation and days of dialysis Cillian was able to come.
But now his parents, from Knotty Ash, have to anxiously wait to see if in the future their son will need a kidney transplant.
Dad Richard, 33, said: "You just never think it will happen to you.
"I don't think we have even accepted now how close he came to the end.
"When we asked the doctors 'could he die?' and they said 'yes' we just sort of went on auto pilot.
"We heard it but just couldn't believe it.
"He just looked so exhausted and lifeless. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
"We are devastated because we made the decision to go to the resort and we will probably blame ourselves forever, but we had no idea this could happen.
"We have been to Egypt before and had no problems."
The family of five booked the all inclusive stay at the Jaz Bluemarine Resort – which on TUI's website is rated as 4.5 out of 5 stars.
In the hotel's summary the resort was described as "flush in every department" with a "wide range of international dishes" at its buffet.
But dad Richard claims that just two days into the holiday he was struck down with crippling cramps and diarrhoea and had to go to the pharmacy for medication.
And the following day his partner, eight-year-old Lily and one-year- old Cillian had all been taken ill.
Only youngest daughter Olivia, nicknamed "iron guts" by the family, avoided symptoms but had eaten from a separate kids buffet which Richard said always seemed to serve "hotter" food.
The dad said: "I had the most intense stomach cramps.
"It almost felt like I was being electrocuted. The muscles would contract so intensely and then you just had to be on the toilet for when the muscles released."
For almost the next 48 hours the family ate only jam and toast, while Cillian ate some snacks his parents had brought from home.
And desperate to avoid any more sickness, which they believed was being caused by the hotel food, the family even ordered in McDonald's which they ate without stomach upset.
Following their sickness Richard said he complained to a TUI rep, but claimed they were told their sickness could have been caused by a number of factors, including sun stroke or the pool.
Yet when daughter Olivia asked for a snack before flying and ate pizza from the hotel pool bar, she too became ill which Richard said "confirmed it was the food".
At the airport Cillian also suffered such violent diarrhoea his clothes, and Lara’s dress, had to be binned.
Richard said: "We had to throw the babies clothes away and she had to buy a dress for her and him to wear because there was only one shop.
"It was horrific but we just thought we would come home and that would be the end of it."
But a few days after they returned home, while the rest of the family started to feel better, Cillian began to deteriorate and was vomitting.
Richard said: "He is usually this happy and bubbly little boy all the time but you could just tell he wasn't himself."
And two days later the families nightmare almost turned to tragedy, when little Cillian became lifeless and was admitted to the high dependency unit.
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