When our holiday didn’t go as planned and we ended up in a Spanish hospital

No-one ever thinks that they will get ill on holiday.

We escaped the UK ahead of Storm Dennis and were looking forward to finding some much needed sunshine and warmer temperatures, but less than a day into our holiday and it was clear that Sebastian was poorly.

During our visit to Guadamar Del Segura Sebastian complained that we were walking to fast and that when Isaac made him laugh it hurt, so we sought out the local pharmacy. His advice was to go to the GP clinic around the corner and get checked.

Upon arrival, it became clear that the receptionist spoke no English and I spoke not enough Spanish to help. He simply blurted out “European Health Card” which my husband had luckily kept in his wallet.

GP Clinic

I was pleasantly surprised to be seen within half an hour and muddled through with a mixture of sign language, a friendly truck driver who spoke some English and google translate, to be thrust a paper and told to go to hospital.

Bearing in mind, this was our first full day in Spain, we didn’t have much of an idea about where we were, never mind which hospital to go to, so we chose the one with an A&E closest to where were staying.

I cannot fault the staff when we arrived at Reception, they took our papers and a copy of our EHIC card and we were ushered straight through to triage and seen immediately.


Unlike the UK, they have a separate paediatric emergency unit, where we played about 20 minutes of nought and crosses before we were seen – I never realised how good at it Sebby was!

Noughts and Crosses

Thankfully, we encountered our first doctor who has some English and with the help of google translate she managed to get some history (he is allergic to penicillin) and understanding of what was wrong. She listened to Sebby’s chest and told me immediately that she suspected pneumonia and got a nurse to take us to X-Ray.

Everything seemed to happen really fast from there, he was X-Rayed almost immediately and we were taken back to the consultants room, where there were now three doctors, all who spoke a little English and helped each other muddle through what was going to happen next and that Sebby was likely to be admitted for a few days.

We went to the nurses room and had a cannula put in and bloods taken, before being taken to a small Observation ward, which was decorated with planets and stars.

Observation Ward

We thought it was the children’s ward, but sadly our stay was short-lived and we were transferred upstairs to the children’s ward and Sebby was hooked up to a drip his first dose of IV antibiotics and some fluids, whilst my husband headed back to get his some essentials.

Sebby Hospital

Being in hospital with a sick child is a nightmare at the best times, but in hospital with a language barrier is horrible. I didn’t know what was going on from one minute to the next, I had visible eye rolls from some of the nursing staff because I could not speak Spanish. Turns out, we made the wrong choice of hospital, as this was a traditional Spanish town where most of the locals still speak Valencian, rather than a coastal one which welcomes more tourists.

It took two days for them to show me where to get a much-needed coffee and it took my husband to find the cafe as I hadn’t eaten, apart from a bread roll that Sebby didn’t want.

However, I cannot fault their care of Sebby. He had a scan where they found fluid on his lungs and have been busy trying to teach him Spanish words – he even went to “school” once he was feeling better, where he got to do colouring, make jigsaws and even play Bingo, with sounds instead of words.

School Hospital

After two days of the kids visiting they then told me they couldn’t come, because of the infection risk, which has been hard as they all miss each other and it also gave me the opportunity to stretch my legs as sleeping in a chair is no fun for anyone. They do keep sending me pictures of all the fun they have been having, which is nice to see.

So now it is a waiting game. Sebby is still having antibiotics but I have been told that he can go home tomorrow (day 5), if his temperature doesn’t go up again, so fingers crossed as I would really like to explore the view from my window a little closer.

My view

I have to say a big thank you to the other family that shared our room, who were so lovely, making sure we were OK and offering their help. It definitely made a difficult stay a lot easier.

I am just so thankful that we have EHIC cards and travel insurance as goodness knows what would have happened otherwise!!

Have you ever been ill whilst on holiday?

18 thoughts on “When our holiday didn’t go as planned and we ended up in a Spanish hospital”

  1. Oh no not what you expected on holiday, I am so glad you got seen straight away and the hospital acted quickly. Fingers crossed he is able to leave hospital tomorrow and you can all enjoy a day or two relaxing and enjoying your holiday x

  2. Oh my poor Sebby! What an ordeal – I am so glad that the hospital seems to be doing a good job at getting him better. I hope you get to leave soon and enjoy some of your holiday. get well soon x

  3. Aww! Poor Sebby! It’s not what you want while you’re on holiday but is sounds like he was treated well. I hope he gets to leave the hospital soon and you can enjoy the rest of your holiday x

  4. Oh your poor little guy, how horrid for you all that he has been so poorly while you were on holiday! Glad to see that his care was so good and that he is on the mend. Hope you get to explore a little of Spain and that view before you have to head home x

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about your son, it’s never nice to be ill but on holiday where language is difficult must have been tough x

  6. What a terrible start to your holiday, such bad luck. But thankfully you had your EHIC cards and insurance. It must have been so hard with the language barrier. I hope by the time you’re reading this your son has been discharged and you’re all back together again enjoying the sun.

  7. Oh Kara I’m so sorry to read this. I hope he is ok now and that you have been able to leave the hospital. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for you all x

  8. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that, what a rubbish start to your holiday. We have been ill on holiday before – both parents and kids – but thankfully always in places where we spoke the language. I hope he gets released soon and you can enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  9. Oh no!
    I’m sorry to hear about this.
    It’s definitely no fun dealing with this on holiday. The language barrier must have caused anxiety for me as well.
    I remember how difficult it was when my daughter broke her ankle on holiday and she had to have braces on.


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