An Irish woman was left paralysed from her neck to her toes after eating a chicken which was contaminated with a common bacteria.
Sandra Loftus, from Kinsealy, Co Dublin, contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome – a severely debilitating condition of the nervous system – after she ate chicken infected with campylobacter.
The bacteria commonly causes food poisoning and shockingly 98.3% of chickens bought by the public here in Ireland are infected with it.
And like Sandra, one in 100 of us who contract food poisoning from campylobacter will get Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
She explained: “I was cooking dinner for the family and I was doing a chicken stir fry.
“The next day I was very sick I had terrible cramps in my stomach, nausea, diarrhea – it was really bad. The Saturday then when I got up the legs just went from under me.
“After a full day in hospital they said to me, ‘Look, just go home, it could be a virus, come back to us if it gets worse.’
“When Monday came I couldn’t even lift my hands – there was no power or anything.
“So I was straight back over to A&E and spent three months in high dependency there and then nearly a year in rehab in Dun Laoghaire.”
Sandra told RTE’s Consumer Show that she thought she was going to die.
She said: “I was paralysed from my neck to my toes, I couldn’t move a muscle.
“And I thought I was going to die because when we looked into it one in four people can die from this.”
Sandra spent three months in intensive care unit battling for her life and then spent a further nine months at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire.
Thankfully she has now fully recovered from her ordeal.
However, in the food safety advice bit at the end, sorta like Dear Abbey, the story says, “Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.”
Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.