Yes, looks like a manual clickbaitNothing could be further from the truth. The case we are here to comment on today is as real as life itself, unfortunately. A 19-year-old boy was amputated after eating spoiled food scraps. Just like you read it.
In 2021, a 19-year-old boy was admitted to an intensive care unit with multiple organ failure and a severe rash. About twenty hours before his admission, he had severe abdominal pain and nausea after eating the leftover food from a restaurant. Additionally, about five hours before he was hospitalized, he developed a purplish discoloration of his skin that looked like bruises.
This case does not concern another gruesome internet rumor, but has been collected from the scientific literature. It happened at Massachusetts General Hospital and was also captured in an informative YouTube video by creator Chubbyemu, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Illinois.
Leftover Chicken Noodles
The affected young man, nicknamed “JC” by his initials, spotted a container with noodles and chicken lying in the refrigerator of his home. This package contained leftover food her roommate had brought the day before at the restaurant. Immediately after eating it, JC began to feel terrible with stomach cramps and discomfort. As the hours passed, things did not improve. The pain intensified more and more. He thought it would be gas, but no, it wasn’t. Additionally, she felt a bitter taste on the surface of her tongue and a tingling sensation on her cheeks just before she passed out and fell to the ground. He made his way to the bathroom as best he could, and there began the constant, uncontrollable vomiting that didn’t stop until he felt his eyes pop out of their sockets. As if that were not enough, the pain was accompanied by a terrible feeling of cold and strong tremors that started in the extremities and gradually moved to his chest. This is where the breathing difficulties started.
When her roommate arrived, the situation was terrifying. JC was unable to turn his head due to the stiffness of his neck and his vision was beginning to blur. When he confessed to stealing the food from the noodles, his roommate apologized: the food had also made him sick, but for some incomprehensible reason he decided to keep the leftovers in the fridge instead of throwing them away. In any case, none of the young people gave more importance to the question, since the hands of the clock continued to count without going to the hospital. They assumed the food was spoiled and everything would pass. But it didn’t happen like that.
Meningococcal bacterial infection
As the night wore on, JC felt his heart beat violently in his chest. However, despite looking like a real human wreck, JC endured all night in pain in the fetal position. The next morning he saw her arms and legs turned purple in some areas, with signs that looked like bruising. With all this untenable situation on top of that, JC and his girlfriend finally decided to go to the hospital. On the way to the hospital, JC could barely move his head as his neck was so stiff. Added to this was the loss of vision.
Once on examination, JC was conscious, but his skin turned pale and he developed a fever. His heart was beating very fast, abnormally, and the concentration of oxygen in his blood plummeted through the floor. At the entrance to the USI, JC presented muscle aches, chills and shortness of breath. He had to be intubated by artificial respiration, but that was not enough: his blood pressure continued to drop. In addition, small rashes appeared all over her body. It was clear: it was a bacterial infection.
However, doctors were still unable to determine which bacteria was causing this mess. So they gave JC generic antibiotics to try and fight the infection. However, things got complicated. JC’s extremities were freezing cold and his wounds were now beyond the appearance of a simple rash. On the other hand, the kidneys were completely failing and the concentration of platelets in his blood was at its lowest: he could neither clot nor heal his wounds. Blood tests revealed the culprit: bacteria Neisseria meningitidis or meningococcal. This bacterium is capable of causing a serious infection called meningococcemia that can lead to death: this is what happened to JC.
This bacteria is related to meningitis, but it is not exactly the same thing. Meningitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. This inflammation can be due to multiple causes, one of them being Neisseria meningitidis. However, what happened to JC was not meningitis, as his brain was unaffected. Other parts of his body were affected: his limbs were heading for necrosis, since the blood flow had stopped. Ultimately, both of JC’s legs were affected by gangrene and had to be amputated.
Be very careful with food hygiene
How could this tragic accident happen? This is an extremely rare case, since the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis It is transmitted through saliva and is not a common pathogen in food. JC’s roommate ate these leftovers and also vomited, confirming the bad state of the food and a possible presence of meningococci. However, upon reviewing JC’s medical history, doctors found that the young man had only received the first dose of the meningococcal vaccine as a child, which could explain the serious consequences of this infection. What is not easy to explain is the presence of Neisseria meningitidis in the noodles. Even wanting to grow such bacteria on purpose in a lab, it would be difficult to achieve bacterial growth in food.
Let’s remember: the container was not his, but his roommate’s. Could it be that JC’s partner was infected with Neisseria meningitidis and transmit bacteria to food through saliva? We’ll never know. What we do know is that food hygiene is fundamental and can have fatal consequences if we avoid it. The moral of this sad story is that you shouldn’t eat your roommate’s noodles without asking first. And if you’re someone’s roommate: be sure to throw the spoiled food in the trash. Don’t be a pig. This case is an extremely isolated, rare and bizarre example whose chances of replication are negligible. However, this should serve as an example to be careful with what we eat and not keep leftovers in the refrigerator longer than necessary. In this way we will avoid possible food poisoning by more frequent bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes Where Campylobacter.