A Dodgy Curry… now My Girl needs A Transplant
Sue’s daughter will never be the same after eating a dodgy Chinese curry
Arriving home after a weekend in Blackpool, we were exhausted. ‘Shall we get a takeaway for dinner?’ I asked my partner, Paul, 42.
It was 21 August last year. My girl Angel, from a previous relationship, 10, Paul’s two kids, 12 and 8, and our daughter Isabella, 3, agreed.
‘I fancy Chinese,’ Paul said. Angel and one of my stepdaughters shared a Chinese chicken curry and egg fried rice.
Only, the next morning, Angel didn’t feel well.
‘Mum, my tummy hurts,’ she groaned.
I thought she had a bug, but, two days later, she was being violently sick. She had diarrhoea, too, and couldn’t even keep down water. Then I saw blood in her stools…
‘I’m taking you to the doctor,’ I told her.
At the GP’S surgery, the nurse looked worried.
‘You need to take her straight to hospital,’ she said.
An ambulance was called, and Angel was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital.
Her dad met us there. Doctors thought Angel had a viral infection, so she was put on antibiotics. Terrified, I didn’t leave her side for days. Only, Angel wouldn’t eat anything.
Desperate, her dad even tried to bribe her, offering her £20 to eat a biscuit. But she just couldn’t take it. She just lay in her hospital bed, zapped of energy, crying in pain.
Doctors kept Angel pumped full of medication to fight the pain and infection. But she started haemorrhaging from her bottom.
I’d never seen so much blood. It was heartbreaking.
‘What’s wrong with her?’ I sobbed, beside myself. But, after endless tests, no-one could tell us.
Paul and my mum Julie, 55, looked after Isabella, while I stayed with Angel.
‘Your sister’s poorly, but the doctors are trying to make her better,’ we told her. Angel had more blood tests. Despite not eating anything, she looked to be gaining weight all over…
Then, one afternoon, I was walking to her room when a nurse stopped me.
‘The doctors are with Angel, they’ve got her results,’ she said.
Running down the corridor, I flew into Angel’s room.
‘Her kidneys are shutting down,’ the doctor said.
She had the bacterial infection E. coli, and a rare, yet deadly, secondary infection, haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).
Caused by food poisoning, it’s highly contagious. And it’d caused my beautiful girl to bloat, her face to turn deathly white.
Angel was transferred to
Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she was kept in isolation. Nurses even had to wear protective suits when they treated her.
Unable to wee, her kidneys failing, she had to have a dialysis tube inserted into her neck.
‘She’ll be on dialysis for a few weeks,’ the specialist said.
All we could do was hope Angel would start fighting back.
Doctors said the food poisoning had been caused by cross contamination – a restaurant worker had used the same knife to cut raw meat and other food.
Environmental Health was contacted.
HUS is so contagious, officials had to go through everything Angel had done in the days before the infection.
‘The curry is the only thing she’s eaten different to us,’ I said.
Paul checked, and his eldest daughter had suffered some sickness and diarrhoea for two days after the takeaway. But she’d fought it off.
We all had to be tested for the infection. Luckily, we were all clear.
We’d already thrown away the takeaway cartons, so the food couldn’t be tested.
Meanwhile, Angel’s stomach and intestines were all swollen, her temperature sky high.
After a week of dialysis, she ate a simple bowl of cereal.
‘She’s starting to fight back,’ I wept with relief to Paul. She began weeing again, too. Finally, on 1 October last year, Angel was discharged.
But she wasn’t out of the woods yet. She needed constant tests to check the damage to her kidneys, and had to eat a special renal diet – no chips, crisps or chocolate.
She could only drink tiny sips of water at a time.
Sick for life
In agony with water infections, I had to rush her to A&E a few times. And, in February this year, we got terrible news. ‘Angel’s kidneys have suffered permanent damage,’ the consultant said.
The infection has left her with acute kidney failure – reversible in some cases – which means her kidneys can’t filter waste products from her blood. She can only go on the transplant list once she is officially in kidney failure – which is inevitable, probably within the next five years.
But all her family are happy to be tested as a possible donor.
I’m always watching for signs of kidney failure – pain, bloating, not going to the toilet.
‘It’s ruined my life,’ Angel, now 11, wept as the news sank in. All I could do was hold her. It’s hard to believe a Chinese chicken curry nearly killed my fit and healthy girl.
We’re speaking to lawyers about taking legal action against the takeaway place. It’s all very frightening. Angel won’t be able to enjoy her teenage years to the full or ever live a normal life.
She’ll always have limitations – no alcohol, no junk food.
And all because a takeaway wasn’t prepared properly.
She won’t be able to enjoy her teenage years to the full
A rare outing to a cafe near the hospital
Angel on her 11th birthday