A Dodgy Curry… now My Girl needs A Trans­plant

Sue’s daugh­ter will never be the same af­ter eat­ing a dodgy Chi­nese curry

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS - Sue Grif­fiths, 30, Can­nock

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.

Test re­sults

‘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.

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

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