Was an Epileptic Passenger "Sent Off" a Thomson Cruise?

February 15, 2011

(12 p.m. EST) -- Can you be thrown off a cruise ship for having an epileptic fit? According to Thomson passenger Dave Evans, 44, and his 75-year-old mother, Jenny, you can. And, they claim they were.

The duo was two days into a seven-night Canary Islands cruise last month when Dave Evans, who has suffered from epilepsy for two years, had a seizure at breakfast. His mother told the Web site WalesOnline that it was because he had forgotten to take his medication.

The ship's doctor was summoned and administered an injection, the report says. Evans was sent to a hospital in La Palma, and the captain allegedly then told mother and son that they'd have to leave the cruise.

What happened next is only one side of the story. (Thomson has not responded to numerous requests for information.) Mrs. Evans told WalesOnline that the "gang plank was put down and we were sent off. We were on our own, a taxi took us to a hotel where there was hardly anyone who spoke English. The only flights to leave La Palma are to Manchester and Gatwick, once a week. Through sign language and broken English, we managed to get a ferry to Tenerife and catch our flight back on the Friday."

According to the online report, Thomson apologised and said the captain had "acted in the interest of the other passengers." A spokeswoman is quoted as saying, "While our ship's medical team is equipped to be able to handle a number of medical concerns, their supplies are limited and the risk of Mr. Evans having another seizure was deemed too great."

Sound fishy? Would a cruise line really just deposit a sick passenger in port like that? Actually, it would -- we've heard numerous stories of passengers being left behind, presumably at port hospital facilities, after they've suffered from anything-but-casual maladies like heart attacks.

We can only speculate as to what led the Thomson captain to ask the Evanses to leave the ship, but check back for an update, which we'll post as soon as we hear from the cruise line.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor

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