With two boys under four, I get pretty emotional when I read a story about a child getting sick from foodborne illness. This week Jack had a cold, and I felt helpless when he said "make me feel better." I can’t imagine what Thomas Miller’s parents felt like over the past two years as they saw him battling the effects of E. coli infection complications which included a septicemia and rare brain impacts. Thomas’ illness was linked to eating contaminated burgers and is being reported as the first time an individual in the UK has recovered from these complications.
The youngster, who was two-years-old at the time, fell ill just 24 hours after eating a beef burger on a family day out in Scotland in 2009.
His older brother James, then seven, suffered diarrhoeaand a day later Thomas started to pass blood.
‘We just didn’t know what was happening. It was frightening,’ said 37-year-old Mrs Miller, from Aspatria,Cumbria. ‘He went for an operation that day and had to have dialysis.
‘He was holding his head and screaming, he couldn’t move and was as stiff as a board.’
The E.coli had entered Thomas’ bloodstream but further scans revealed it was also attacking his brain.
Two golf ball-sized abscesses on his brain, which had caused him to go blind, were drained in August 2009 – allowing him to see again.
But his ordeal wasn’t over as he developed more abscesses on the brain and even suffered an allergic reaction to the medication, which ‘burned’ his skin. Finally last year, after having all the abscesses removed, he was given the all clear. ‘I’ll never forget the day he came out of intensive care,’ said Mrs Miller. ‘It’s only really this year that I’ve been able to relax.’