Poi­soned fam­ily out of co­mas

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - CAITLIN MOORBY

All three mem­bers of a Waikato fam­ily struck down with bot­u­lism af­ter eat­ing freshly slaugh­tered wild boar meat have re­gained con­scious­ness.

But their mem­o­ries of the past month have been wiped.

Shibu Kochum­men, 35, his wife Subi Babu, 33, and his mother Alekutty Daniel, 62, ate wild boar curry for din­ner more than three weeks ago at their Pu­taruru home.

Daniel woke up first, fol­lowed by Kochum­men ear­lier last week, but it was not un­til Fri­day that Babu opened her eyes.

It’s a huge re­lief all three have come around, friend Joji Vargh­ese, who knows the fam­ily through church, said.

‘‘Now they’re try­ing to piece to­gether where one month of their life has dis­ap­peared to,’’ Vargh­ese said.

‘‘We were told to al­ways ex­pect short-term mem­ory loss as part of the re­cov­ery process.

‘‘It’s go­ing to take a while for ev­ery­thing to fall into place.’’

Babu can’t com­mu­ni­cate prop­erly yet, Vargh­ese said.

‘‘She finds it dif­fi­cult to talk, but she still man­aged to ask for her chil­dren when she woke up.

‘‘She wanted to know where her chil­dren were, be­cause she wouldn’t have known un­til then if they were safe.’’

Both daugh­ters, 7 and 12 months, have been in to visit, Vargh­ese said.

‘‘It’s very emo­tional for them. [Babu’s] speech is still very slurred and she can only get a few words out at a time.’’

Kochum­men and Daniel are back on solid food, but Babu isn’t eat­ing yet, Vargh­ese said.

All three are still largely im­mo­bile and have lost a lot of weight, which we were told to ex­pect, he said.

‘‘None of them can get around with­out help from oth­ers - they can’t even use a walker. A lot of re­hab will have to be done.’’

As for the cause of the bot­u­lism, test re­sults aren’t back yet from the Queens­land lab.

‘‘It’s frus­trat­ing, but it takes long time to un­der­stand and there are so many things to look for, I’m told. I’m just glad they’re on the right track.’’

‘‘The fam­ily has had no other treat­ment but for bot­u­lism and they have come around, so I think that’s what it was,’’ Vargh­ese said.

With the school hol­i­days com­ing up, the two chil­dren are go­ing to travel to In­dia to stay with their grand­par­ents while their par­ents re­cover. ‘‘It is un­ac­cept­able to say it is cen­tral govern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity or in­di­vid­ual choice. Lo­cal govern­ment has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to set the scene and en­vi­ron­ment that al­lows peo­ple to live safe, healthy, and en­joy­able lives in their com­mu­ni­ties and they are fail­ing to do that if they don’t act to re­move th­ese ma­chines and venues.’’

‘‘If they are com­plicit in th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions be­ing per­va­sive among th­ese com­mu­ni­ties then that is a ma­jor con­cern,’’ he said.

O’sul­li­van called on the com­mu­nity to stand up against such venues. ‘‘Re­search shows that it is go­ing to be Ma¯ori and Pasi­fika women who are go­ing to sit in there. Those are mums who then have to go home at the end of the day af­ter they have blown their food bud­get for the week, look at their kids and have them think my mum cares more about gam­bling than she does about feed­ing me.

‘‘Th­ese are the feel­ings and emo­tions that are go­ing to be go­ing on and con­tribut­ing to sig­nif­i­cant stress in house­holds and fi­nan­cial and emo­tional pres­sures that th­ese house­holds can ill af­ford. Again it is preda­tory be­hav­iour on vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties and it needs to stop.’’

The South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil con­tin­ues to jus­tify grant­ing site ap­proval.


Subi Babu, Shibu Kochum­men and Shibu’s mother Alekutty Daniel, are mak­ing progress.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.