The family who became comatose after eating a wild boar curry may be eligible for ACC compensation after all.
Shibu Kochummen, 35, his 62-year-old mother Alekutty Daniel and his wife Subi Babu, 33, of Putaruru were struck down with severe poisoning in November last year.
The diagnosis of botulism poisoning was assumed to be the cause of the family's illness because they responded to treatment for the disease. A family spokesman was told by an ACC team leader that they would not be covered due to a section of legislation that says the ingestion of bacteria is not considered an accident unless it is the result of a criminal act.
But lawyer Sue Grey today confirmed the chief executive of Waikato District Health Board Derek Wright had given her a letter from Dr Liz Phillips who had overall responsibility for the family's care.
In the letter, which the Herald sighted, Phillips advised that the family had accidental poisoning of an unspecified neurotoxin, the nature of which it was not possible to determine.
"This caused severe vomiting, and acute descending paralysis, autonomic dysfunction, followed by a delirium, acute dystonic phase and then slow recovery."
She said WDHB had tested for 1080, botulism and other acute neurotoxins like arsenic, mercury, lead, autoimmune antibodies and fish toxin. But they were all negative.
"I believe this would meet the criteria required by ACC for accidental poisoning and entitle them to cover of medical expenses and access to physiotherapy."
A WDHB spokeswoman said they had given the family's lawyer and spokesperson all the information they requested.
"We are dealing with the family and their spokespeople direct not through the media."
ACC has been contacted for comment.
Within minutes of eating the curry Babu and Daniel collapsed, vomiting. Kochummen called an ambulance but collapsed while on the phone.
Babu and Kochummen's two daughters - aged 7 and 1 - were not affected.
The trio spent three weeks paralysed and unconscious
Family friend Joji Varghese told Youtube show TV Wild about the alarming toll it took on his friends.
They had to be tied to their hospital beds to control their bodies that thrashed wildly for days on end while they were unconscious from a mystery poisoning.
They were also left unable to close their bulging, bloodshot eyes despite being in a vegetative unresponsive state.
Varghese said it was shocking to see his friends tied down but it was for their own safety, especially 62-year-old Daniel who was prone to violent spasms.
"Her legs would actually flip 180 degrees on the bed - just go backwards - and there was a huge possibility of her hurting herself against the side of the bed."
He said the violent thrashing lasted a week before they entered an almost childlike state smiling and laughing at nothing. Eventually they started to recognise people and communicate normally.