The recent publicity of the terrible illness suffered by artist Ricky Figg after he came down with food poisoning whilst on holiday illustrates just how devastating these conditions can be.
Mr Figg developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome after he had eaten food on holiday infected with a Campylobacter bug. Most associate food poisoning with an upset stomach and diarrhoea but for Mr Figg it lead to four months in hospital. The condition left him paralysed and unable to breathe without a ventilator and it took many months and treatment and Rehabilitation for him to recover from the worst effects.
Although such extreme reactions to food poisoning are relatively rare they are by no means unprecedented. In our experience of handling cases for those affected by outbreaks of food poisoning we have seen first-hand how some unfortunately go on to suffer life changing consequences. And it is not just when Guillain-Barre Syndrome strikes that the consequences are so terrible. One client of ours who was infected with a type of Salmonella known as Typhi was left with brain damage with symptoms similar to those caused by a stroke. He was left him unable to speak properly. He was unable to return to his previous work and he required considerable care and assistance. He recovered over £1.5 million from the take away retailer who sold him the contaminated food.
We have also been involved in cases where our clients have been infected with E.Coli, such as the outbreak at Godstone Farm in Surrey in 2009 where over 80 people were affected. This is usually caught by coming into contact with animals carrying the E.Coli bacteria or by eating contaminated food. For most people these infections cause an upset tummy for a few days or weeks. But for some, particularly vulnerable groups such as young children or the elderly, the consequences can be terrible as the condition can lead to kidney failure, brain damage and even death. Claims for those affected by E.coli have in the past recovered damages in excess of £3 million for the horrific consequences of the infection.
Where such illnesses occur because of someone’s negligence or failure to comply with health and safety or food hygiene requirements then that party would usually be held liable to pay compensation to the injured party. Awards can be a few thousand pounds for an illness lasting several weeks, but can run to several hundreds of thousands of pounds, even millions, when the effects are serious or permanent.
Read more about the E-Coli outbreak at Godstone Farm.