Man had legs amputated after eating friend’s leftover takeaway

He developed sepsis believed to be from bacteria in the meal (Picture: Getty/The New England Journal of Medicine)


A student developed gangrene and had to have his limbs amputated after eating his friend’s leftovers from the fridge.

The unnamed man, 19, was taken into intensive care with multiple organ failure hours after developing a rash from the meal he ate just the day before.

He went into a coma and all of his fingers had to be amputated to save him, as well as both legs below the knees.

Dr Alexandra Lucas concluded he was suffering from a rare complication of septic shock caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream.

His case was detailed in a medical journal where the summary detailed he had been ‘well’ until 20 hours before he was admitted to hospital.

‘Diffuse abdominal pain and nausea developed after he ate rice, chicken, and lo mein leftovers from a restaurant meal,’ the report states.

He was then sick multiple times and developed chills, weakness, chest pain, headache, muscle pain and blurry vision.

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The man developed a strong rash (Picture: NEJM)

NEJM feature.2021.02.19.100086

His legs had to be amputated below the knee (Picture: NEJM)

Five hours before he went into the hospital, ‘purplish discoloration of the skin’ and a friend then took him to a nearby emergency department.

While in the hospital he began to have trouble breathing and was given oxygen as his blood pressure dropped, and later had to be put on a ventilator.

Before this, he had been staying with a friend for five days though he usually lived with his mother, brother, and three cats in northern New England.

Medical staff asked friends and family members about his recent history to try and find out what caused his decline.

The New England Journal of Medicine said: ‘A friend who had eaten the same meal as the patient the evening before admission had vomited once shortly thereafter but had not become progressively ill.’

It said man had a history of anxiety and depression and had had ear infections during childhood. He smoked two packs of cigarettes each week, smoked cannabis daily, and had two alcoholic drinks around twice a week.

There was nothing in his history that put him at particular risk of sepsis such as chronic condition.

However, the doctors noted that he had only had one dose of each of his meningitis vaccines.

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He was diagnosed with a s’evere and acute presentation of meningococcal purpura fulminans’ (Picture: NEJM)

The case was documented last year but gained attention this week after a YouTube video by Dr Bernard was published about what happened, gaining over a million views.

Dr Lucas said in the medical journal: ‘This patient had a prolonged hospital course with many complications of fulminant meningococcemia, including necrosis of the arms and legs and gangrene, which led to amputations of parts of all 10 fingers and bilateral below-knee amputations.

‘Overall, he had a relatively good recovery from what was a very severe and acute presentation of meningococcal purpura fulminans.’

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