Food Poison Probe: Woman Dies After Pub Lunch

Food Poison Probe: Woman Dies After Pub Lunch

A woman who was struck down with suspected food poisoning and died after a Christmas pub lunch was sent home from hospital hours before her death, her husband has said.

John Callagher told how his wife Della, 46, was in good health before the Christmas Day turkey dinner at the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch, northeast London.

She was among 30 people who fell ill after eating at the venue.

On Boxing Day, Mrs Callagher, who has a teenage daughter, was taken to Queen's Hospital in Romford. Her husband told the London Evening Standard she was given an anti-sickness injection.

He said: "She was in a really bad way but the hospital just sent her home.

"I was ill myself but she was in a terrible state.

"They sent her home and she just lay in my arms, basically she was dying. We called an ambulance and went back to the hospital but she barely had a pulse."

Mrs Callagher, of Hornchurch, died on December 27 in hospital. Her husband, who runs a recruitment company, is reported to be planning legal action against the pub and the hospital.

Tests have revealed the presence of clostridium perfringens bacteria in a number of samples submitted by diners who fell ill after eating at the pub, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said.

The bacteria are the third most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and usually only vulnerable patients such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are seriously affected.

The Railway Hotel's owner, Ember Inns, said all its food was prepared to the highest standards and that it is co-operating with an investigation by the HPA and local authority officials.

A company spokesman said: "Environmental Health Officers have visited the pub since the alleged outbreak and are happy with the standards of hygiene at the Railway.

"Until the investigation is complete it would be wrong to speculate as to the cause of the symptoms experienced by the guests who visited us."

Investigators are trying to identify the cause of the illness and any links to food eaten at the venue.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Queen's Hospital, said staff followed correct procedures and that there would be a review of the case.

Trust chief executive Averil Dongworth said: "We have written to the family offering our condolences and inviting them to meet with medical staff who can answer any queries or concerns."

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