Man paralysed with horror locked-in syndrome after holiday food poisoning

An Edinburgh man was left paralysed from the neck down after returning from a holiday suspecting he had food poisoning.

Malcolm Brown, 71, had been in Turkey with his wife Janis in September last year when he initially fell ill.

Upon his return to Scotland Malcolm's condition worsened. He was rushed to hospital after he became incapable of clothing or feeding himself, Edinburgh Live reports.

It was later discovered Malcolm was suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition which causes the body’s immune system to begin attacking the nerves.

He spent ten months in hospital, with Janis, his daughters and his grandchildren unable to visit due to Covid-19 protocols.

Malcolm instead kept in contact using an Amazon Echo device controlled by his voice, only being permitted to see his wife in person for one hour on Christmas Day through the process.

He has since regained some motion and is now able to stand and sit in his wheelchair after undergoing treatment, though admits he may never be in a position to regain his previously busy lifestyle.

He said: "I might never be able to be as active as I was.

"The hospital team who looked after me were wonderful, but I missed Janis and the rest of the family.

"Alexa and the Echo at least connected me to a friendly face and a familiar voice and that contact really helped me on tough days."

He added: "I will never stop attempting to improve and I’m not going to give up."

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The condition is thought to be caused by an over-reaction of the immune system which mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerves due to an allergic reaction.

It is thought just two people per 100,000 in the UK suffer from the disease, which has varying levels of severity, every year.

Gain provides information and support for families and patients living with the condition as well as helping fund research to help treat the disease.

Janis has since signed up for a running challenge that will see her cover the equivalent distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a bid to raise money for the charity.

She will trek around 874 miles for the challenge, but admitted she owed it to the organisation as she recalled the difficulties of being apart from Malcolm as he was undergoing treatment.

"On Christmas Day I was allowed into the hospital for an hour," she said.

"But no other family members, including his daughters and grandchildren, were able to see him for the ten months he was in hospital."

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