Infants and turtles don’t mix: Irish mom says ‘experience was torturous’

The mother of an 11-week-old baby who was left fighting for his life after contracting terrapin-related botulism said nobody knew what was happening at the time because “no one had seen anything like it.”

turtleKris Edlund Gibson, the mother of the first child in Ireland to be diagnosed with the disease, said her newborn son Oliver was hospitalized in December 2010 when he began struggling to breathe.

He was the first person in Ireland to be diagnosed with Type E Botulism originating from the two terrapins his parents kept.

“The experience was torturous to us,” said Ms Gibson. “It is impossible to put into words how painful it is to see one’s newborn in that state. It was equally as painful to have to walk away and leave him there night after night.

“I wanted to get rid of the turtles before Oliver was born because I thought they smelled awful and I was worried about salmonella. The only reason we ended up keeping them was because we couldn’t find anyone to take them. I didn’t want to just take them to a pond and dump them so we kept them.”