Sydney Hostel defends itself against hospitalised backpacker
A Sydney hostel denies it is responsible for a German backpacker who ended up in hospital after being attacked by bed bugs. Sydney Backpackers, on Wilmont Street in central Sydney, says they showed a duty of care to the guest who is seeking legal action after allegedly being so severely bitten by bed bugs it led to a nasty infection that left him having to get around on crutches in February this year.
Sydney Backpackers manager Dan Jeon told The Byte that Patrick Rose, 24, took two days to inform the hostel of his condition. Mr Jeon then suggested that he leave the hostel and offered to make arrangements to help him, plus offered a refund for the room and the future nights he had paid for. Mr Rose decided to stay and was immediately moved to another room where he stayed until checking out on 14 February, 9 days later.
“He told me that he just wanted us to move him to another room and to see what happened, hoping that it won’t go any worse,” Mr Jeon explained.
He also said the marks on Mr Rose’s body were something he’d “never seen” in his eight years as a hostel manager — and they didn’t “seem like bed bugs”. “The skin was swollen and blistered and I thought it was definitely way more than the bed bug bites,” Mr Jeon said. Mr Rose denied any sort of skin allergy when pressed by the hostel.
When asked if anyone else had complained, Mr Jeon said a couple of people in the same room had complained and asked to leave, with a refund and free laundry.
“The whole room was emptied on the 2 March and a thorough pest control has been conducted,” said Mr Jeon. “It did not find a sign of infestation in the room that Patrick has stayed,” he added.
The backpacker’s lawyer, Shine Lawyers’ Thomas Jansen, is pursuing legal action against the hostel and denies Mr Rose was offered any sort of refund. “Given his financial situation, which can best be described as living hand to mouth, I agree with him as the money would’ve come in handy for him,” Jansen told news.com.au.
After being hospitalized with the infection and unable to work, Mr Rose then came back to the hostel to demand compensation for his medical bills and argued that the hostel was also responsible for paying for his flight home.
Mr Jeon insisted that they would, “fix up his first medical bill as promised,” but was not responsible for anything else. “He made his own decision of staying and carrying the risk even after he had been offered with options to leave earlier with refund.”
The Sydney hostel claims it is not 100% protected against bed bugs and that they are usually “spread by people especially by people who did a farm stay” but that they have protocols in place to protect guests against the spread of infection.
“When it [a bed bug outbreak] happens we do a scheduled pest control by professionals as we have to have the room empty in order to spray chemicals and so on. This is done on top of our regular in house pest controls throughout the year,” said Mr Jeon.
“We are family-operated hostel which is run by the same family for over 8 years. We do our best to control and maintain the hostel to keep the place welcoming and pleasant and also avoid potential complaints,” he concluded.
You may also be interested in reading this opinion piece about Bed Bugs being the original backpackers.
Written by Alex Harmon