A three-year-old toddler from Bath is recovering after he was left in intensive care for two weeks due to kidney failure after contracting what is believed to be E. coli in November.
The boy’s family have instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell specialising in helping victims of illness outbreaks in the UK and abroad act after he and his baby sister fell ill.
The family have reported to the firm, who are awaiting the test results, that their son was diagnosed as having contracted E. coli 055.
An outbreak of E. coli 055 was reported in Dorset in November 2014, with ten people confirmed as suffering with the severe illness caused by the bacterium.
Public Health England (PHE) and local environmental health officials are investigating the outbreak in a bid to find the cause.
Now Neil Fincham-Dukes, 31, from Bath has instructed the public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate why his son, Joseph, 3, and his daughter Poppy, 1, contracted E. coli and whether the illness is linked to the recent outbreak in Dorset.
E. coli O55 is a rare strain of the bacteria and which can have very serious consequences. Joseph’s symptoms began in early November 2014 and he suffered with diarrhoea and sickness.
He visited his doctor on two occasions, but unfortunately his condition worsened and he suffered a number of seizures and became disorientated.
He was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). He spent two weeks in intensive care and required daily dialysis for a number of weeks due to the severity of his symptoms.
He is still receiving dialysis three times a week and his treating doctors have confirmed that he is likely to need a kidney transplant in the future because of the severity of the damage to his kidneys.
Tonia Kingsley, a Solicitor and expert Public Health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “The illness described to us by our clients is particularly concerning and it illustrates the serious consequences E. coli can have on vulnerable people, particularly children.
Neil, said: “It was absolutely heart-breaking and terrifying to see Joseph in intensive care and then going through dialysis every day. Thankfully, he is now in a stable condition but the whole situation has been very scary for us all.
“We have been told that he is not suffering from neurological problems, but experts are unsure how this illness will affect him in the long-term.
“We are extremely upset and angry that his condition was not diagnosed earlier and that GPs were apparently not informed of an outbreak of E. coli and the symptoms to look out for.
“We want to know how this could have happened and we have approached lawyers because we heard that other children in the area were ill with similar symptoms.
“I hope that they can find out what caused our children’s’ illnesses so that lessons can be learned and no one else has to suffer as my children have done.”
Tonia Kingsley of Irwin Mitchell added: “As we conduct our investigations we ask anyone who has also suffered gastric illness, which could be related to the recently reported outbreak in Dorset, to contact with to assist us with our enquiries on behalf of Joseph and Poppy.”