Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
Humanist, humorist

Monday, October 04, 2021

Hotel Quarantine Part I


Quite often headlines can be misleading, however, the on above isn't.

My story made the front page of the Birmingham Mail this morning, it can also be read online here.

Hopefully, it will be picked up by the national newspapers and this can go viral...because it needs to.

I'm not after sympathy nor adulation for doing what any other normal human-being would do. What I want are answers on why I have been forced into a 10-Day quarantine stay at a hotel where security guards outnumber guests, where food is served in boxes with plastic cutlery, where "fixed penalty" warnings come if you as so much walk a few feet outside your room door and, fully masked, dare to approach a security guard from his slumber to ask if you can be escorted outside (in the rain) for a cigarette. Where, you get a knock on your door to be told that you have been added to the 'Bad Behavioural List' for not adhering to rules and regulations, despite not being allowed to offer a defence in why you did what you did.

The 10-Day Quarantine imprisonment is, I believe, a money-making scheme. I'm not paying for a stay here, I am, it appears, paying for a large number of security staff who stand around for most of the day in the hotel lobby or sit at various ends of floor landings.

The average cost of a 10-night stay at The St John's Hotel, Warwick Road, Solihull works out at around £85 per night, that's £850 for 10 nights. The price I have been forced to pay is a staggering £2,270.

My story begins in Panama, Central America, where I reside with my long-term partner.

I've been living in Panama on and off now for the past three years or so. I work from home so can pretty much live anywhere in the world. Living abroad has its pitfalls, particularly when you receive news of friends and relatives who are gravely ill.

My father has been unwell for sometime, prostate cancer was diagnosed some years ago and his health has, over the years, been slowly declining. He chose not to have the treatment for his prostate, in having the hormonal treatment he believed his life would be shortened. my two sisters and I respected his wishes.

Dad was taken ill with a chest infection over a week ago and admitted to hospital where further investigation showed he had acute kidney failure, suffered a heart attack in hospital and had a blood clot on either his heart or lungs (the hospital could not determine which organ)

His health was declining rapidly and my sisters contacted me in Panama to let me know. A flight was booked as early as possible, the stumbling block being a Covid test I had to undertake first, a wait of 24 hours for the results of said test.

I also had to fill in forms before I could fly back to the UK. An ESTA because I was passing through the USA, a 10-Day Quarantine Hotel Package and a Passenger Locator Form which would let Border control know exactly which country I was flying from. Prior to all of this I had to obtain a special stamp in my passport to leave Panama, that took another 24 hours.

My flight was long and arduous, David to Panama City - Panama City to Orlando - Orlando to Frankfurt - Frankfurt to Birmingham. With layovers it was around 23 hours.

Birmingham Airport

On arrival at Birmingham Airport (17.10 hrs) Sept 30 I was pulled to one side after showing security my passenger locator form, I was the only one. I was told to sit in a chair whilst Border Control were informed. Other passengers drifted by, occasionally looking over at me, probably assuming I was about to be busted for carrying drugs up the crack of my butt. However, it appears, I was singled out for something far more sinister - I had travelled to the UK from a red-list country, Panama.

Once Border Control came to see me I informed them that my father was gravely ill and was in the process of being sent home to die at the wishes of my two sisters. I asked the Officer if I could go straight to see my dad rather than go straight to the quarantine hotel. He didn't know so made inquiries. About 10 minutes later he came back, shaking his head, and informed me Border Control did not have the authority to make such a decision and any such decision would have to go through the head of security at the hotel.

From this point, I was escorted onto a shuttle-bus and then escorted by two Airport staff through the back of the airport. I was then taken to a full sized coach and told to "sit at the back" - I was the only passenger on the coach. I chose to sit on the fourth row. The coach then drove the short distance to St Johns Hotel in Solihull.

Bad Driving

As we approached the hotel, the driver erred and crashed his coach into overhanging branches. He reversed out, drove up the road, did a U-turn then drove back to a different entrance at the hotel. He crashed again. If I wasn't so miserable because of my father laying at home on what was to be his death bed, I would have laughed. It's one thing to be given a whole coach to oneself (I felt like Justin Bieber) but another to be chauffeured around by a driver who, seemingly, couldn't judge the width and length of the vehicle he was operating.

"Fuck this", I told the driver as I jumped off the coach and headed toward the hotel reception. "Bring my suitcase in when you've learned how to park." I told him.

The Security Guards

I checked-in and was handed a bunch of papers which basically showed what I could and couldn't do during my 10-Dat stay. I counted around 8 security guards who were all congregated around me. I asked to speak to the head of security, luckily for me he was sat close by.

I informed him about my dying father, he seemed affable enough and asked me if I had any evidence, which is fair enough. During my flight Dad had been moved from South Warwickshire Hospital to his small flat in Alcester, he was, in essence, sent home to die. They had stopped all his medication.

I had previously obtained a letter via email from the consultant at the hospital spelling out all of dad's ailments, which I have mentioned above. However, after calling a liaison officer, the head of security informed me he needed more evidence as the letter had not stipulated dad was dying. I contacted my sister who sent me more evidence, this time it was in black and white that dad had been sent home to die. I gave this new 'evidence' to the head of security - what came next astounded me.

I was told that I may or may not be granted a temporary exemption and even if I was it would only be for four hours - in a nutshell, I would have to guess when I thought my dad would die. I was then informed that a decision to allow me a temporary release could take up to four hours. I informed the head of security that I would not wait 4 hours for a decision, nor would I pick a 4 hour timeline when I thought my dad might die. I phoned my son and told him to drive to the hotel. I then informed the head of security I would be leaving as soon as my son arrived. I was advised that this went against "rules and regulations" and that I would face arrest and a heavy fine. He empathised somewhat but empathy should not ever be followed with the word "but". Eg, "I am sorry your father is dying "but" there are rules and regulations."

I approached reception surrounded by the Hi-Viz wearing security and offered them my passport, this was letting them know I was only going to see my dying father and not secretly digging a tunnel to escape. They would not accept my passport. I then held it high and told the hotel staff and influx of security guards that I was leaving under severe duress.

From Solihull to Alcester

My son, the youngest of three, parked around the corner, we thought it best as we didn't want the cackle of security guards noting down his vehicle registration number. He drove me to Alcester and I was soon by dad's side. He couldn't open his eyes, was unresponsive to conversation and was breathing erratically. I kissed his forehead and he managed to raise an eyebrow. I held his hand and felt a slight squeeze. Dad was communicating with me, he was saying his goodbye and, I guess, thanking me for being there. I 'd like to think that anyway.

My two sisters were exhausted and went to sleep on dad's bed whilst my youngest son, and later my eldest son who had travelled up from Colchester, stayed with dad in the living room where he lay on a bed provided by the hospital.

My sisters woke after a few hours sleep then I rested my eyes for a while, I'd been awake now for almost 36 hours. I slept for a while then woke.

Dad took his last breath just after midday, my two sisters and I, my son, and dad's brother, all by his side.

Back to Hotel Quarantine

I said my goodbye's to my family and was driven back to St Johns by my eldest son. Upon arrival I was told I had to have a Covid test before I could enter my room. Results would take about 20 minutes.

A negative test and I was soon back in my room.

A while later, I needed a smoke, so went through the procedure of dialling "0" and requesting that a security guard be sent up from downstairs so he/she could escort me to an elevator. During my smoke break and under the watchful eye of security, I was approached by two West Midlands Police Officers.
"Come to arrest and fine me?", I joked.

They had received a message from security that I had 'absconded' the night before. I didn't need to tell them why, they already knew. Long and short of it all, they didn't arrest me or hand me a fixed penalty fine. They did, however, ask for the name of the funeral home my father was now at, which I gave them.

Around 6.30 that evening I was feeling hungry so phoned reception and asked when dinner would be being brought up to my room, they told me between 7-9pm.

At ten after nine I called reception again to tell them I had still not had my dinner. Two minutes or so later, the kitchen phoned me to tell me that nobody had told them that I had returned to the hotel and they had no dinner, a sandwich was sent to my room instead.


Thanks goodness for modern technology, moreover the Just Eat app. I ordered from a local Chinese. The food is delivered to a security guard who sits outside the hotel, it's then transferred to reception for another security guard to bring up to my room. I was soon diving in to my Beef Curry and fried rice, sadly I'm not allowed plates in my room or any stainless steel cutlery, more about that tomorrow, so had to use my fingers to eat.

Feeling tired and very sad and lonely, I decided to close my eyes, I'd been on the go since leaving Panama and fell into a deep sleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow.

Tomorrow, I'll be posting more. It will feature:

- How I requested that all staff show me Covid test results before they escort me anywhere
- How no fridge or microwave can be provided for my room
- How someone in authority said to me "I know what you're going through" and my reaction to that.
- How social media has been a pick-up tonic for me during these sad times
- How security staff came to my room and accused me of smoking, at the same time an alarm went off in the corridor - no apology
- How I have an allergy to cheese yet the food I'm offered is, in the main, cheese based
- How I was told that I had been place on the 'Bad Behavioural List'

In the meantime, please read my story in the Birmingham Evening Mail, it made the front page in print so hopefully it gains some traction and may show others just how draconian these Covid measures have become.

I also have video footage that I will be sharing that makes for interesting viewing.

Until then...

This post is dedicated to my father, Douglas Richard Fiddaman.

Rest in Peace, Pops. I love you.

Bob Fiddaman

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