How could eating leftover noodles lead to leg amputations


The dangers of sepsis and bacterial infection were reported by doctors who amputated both legs and 10 fingers of a student who ate leftover noodles. Dr Bernard Hsu, a physician in New York, discussed the case on his YouTube channel after it was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2021. While not intending to scare people into not eating leftovers, he referred to the “freak” incident when a student aged 19 endured an emergency procedure after being diagnosed with a potentially lethal bacterial infection. The man from New England was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston 20 hours after first feeling unwell, shortly after eating leftover rice, chicken and lo mein noodles from a local restaurant. Doctors in the hospital’s paediatric intensive care centre said the man was in shock, with multiple organ failure and a serious rash. He was later diagnosed with neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcal disease, which caused his stiff neck, nausea, respiratory collapse, shock, and multiple organ failure. The disease is caused by bacteria and usually triggers symptoms like a sudden fever and vomiting, and can be lethal in a few hours. Although eating leftover food is unlikely to cause as severe a reaction in most cases, bacteria can quickly grow on leftover food when it is stored at room temperature. In this case, the patient had not received a recommended booster meningococcal vaccine that left him exposed to a “perfect storm” of infection. Necrosis of his arms and legs and gangrene led to amputations of parts of all 10 fingers and below-knee amputations. According to the journal, the patient had a relatively good recovery from what was a very severe and acute case of meningococcal purpura fulminans. What is sepsis? An existing infection triggers an extreme chain reaction throughout the body that can quickly become a life-threatening emergency. Infections most commonly start in the lungs, urinary tract, skin or gastrointestinal tract. It can also be the result of viral infections like Covid-19 or influenza. What are the signs and symptoms? Commonly reported signs of sepsis are elevated heart rate, extreme pain or discomfort, breathlessness, confusion, shivering and clammy or sweaty skin. Is sepsis contagious? Although it cannot spread to others, an infection that triggered sepsis could be passed on to other people. Who is at risk? People over the age of 65 and those with a weakened immunity are more at risk, as is anyone with a chronic health condition or illness like diabetes, lung and kidney disease or cancer. Those recently recovering from a recent serious illness are also at greater risk, and babies less than a year old are also more likely to contract sepsis. What should I do If I think I have symptoms? Sepsis is a medical emergency and requires an immediate diagnosis and health intervention. If symptoms are not improving, seek a doctor’s advice or visit a hospital as soon as possible.

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