A six year old boy has been left with brain damage and a paralysed face after an arcade game toppled over and crushed him while on holiday.
Oscar Donnelly was also left with a rare form of diabetes and a punctured lung after he was knocked unconscious and pinned to the ground by the six foot tall darts machine in the Spanish resort of Lloret de Mar.
The schoolboy was staying at the Aparthotel Costa Encantada with his parents and two brothers.
Parents Luke Donnelly, 30, and Samantha Matthews, 29, from Cardiff, have launched legal action against the hotel.
Game not secured to the floor
The couple say staff failed to anchor the arcade game securely to the floor. They claim this caused it to be tipped on top of their youngest son by the vibrations from a nearby punchbag machine in the play area of the hotel.
One of Oscar’s brothers witnessed the incident during the last few hours of the family’s 10 day holiday last September. He alerted his parents, who found their son unconscious with his head covered in blood.
Miss Matthews, a care worker, said she feared for her son’s life after he was admitted to a hospital in Girona.
An induced coma
“We were taken up to intensive care, still not knowing if Oscar was alive. We broke down thinking the worst as we were led into the family room and they told us that it was ‘not looking good’,” Oscar’s mother told the Press Association.
Doctors battled to save the boy’s life for three hours. He was placed into an induced coma and put on life support as they monitored a bleed and swelling to his brain.
His injuries included a punctured lung and a fractured skull. He was left permanently deaf in his left ear.
He developed an eye condition which means he cannot blink and needs regular tear replacement drops. As a result, one of his eyelids must be taped shut at night.
As a result of the accident Oscar also now has diabetes insipidus, a rare lifelong disorder which means his body cannot retain enough water. It usually affects around one in 25,000 people.
His parents said they have “struggled” to deal with his medical problems, which include facial paralysis.
‘He has changed so much’
Mr Donnelly, a welder, said, “Oscar has changed so much. Before he was a confident and bubbly little boy, but now he gets easily frustrated, tired, confused and upset a lot.
“He never used to be aggressive at all but now he can become quite angry and lashes out. It is a constant reminder of what has happened to him.
“We are constantly worried about his future and what struggles he may face. Oscar knows his face has changed and says ‘my smile has gone, mummy’.
“We went on holiday for 10 days to relax as a family with three lovely sons, and we came close to nearly losing one of them.”
Family suspect a cover-up
Mr Donnelly said he felt angry after seeing what he believed to be hotel staff trying to cover up their failure to secure the game to the floor.
He said, “We were beside ourselves with worry but that quickly turned into anger for me, when I saw some of the hotel staff attempting to move the arcade game away from where it had fallen on top of Oscar.
“I felt as if they were trying to remove evidence from a crime scene. It was clear to us that the machine had not been anchored down securely to the floor. This just never should have happened.”
Aparthotel Costa Encantada has been approached for comment.