Community Scoop

ACC approved for the “Not-Botulism” Kochumman Family

Press Release – Sue Grey

ACC has confirmed cover for the Kochumman familys accidental Not-Botulism poisoning in November 2017 which left three family members comatose in Waikato hospital for many weeks.ACC approved for the “Not-Botulism” Kochumman Family
ACC has confirmed cover for the Kochumman family’s accidental “Not-Botulism” poisoning in November 2017 which left three family members comatose in Waikato hospital for many weeks.

This followed a correction issued by the DHB on 3 January 2018 confirming botulism had been excluded as a cause of the neurotoxin poisoning which caused twitching, convulsions, thrashing limbs, severe personality change and 2-3 week comas for Shibu Kochumman, his wife Subi, and Shibu’s mother Alekutty Daniel.

“The family is delighted to have ACC cover confirmed and wishes to thank everyone who assisted” says family lawyer Sue Grey.

Details are still to be confirmed, but it is expected the ACC entitlements will include physiotherapy and other rehabilitation for the family, Shibu and Subi’s lost wages and Alekutty’s medical bills. Alekutty was two months into a holiday to New Zealand visit her family when the poisoning occurred. Meanwhile the family has been living on donations arranged by their church, the Indian community and through Givealittle.

The family’s lawyer, Sue Grey of Nelson, wishes to thank ACC and acknowledge the effort made to promply process and approve this claim after the DHB belatedly corrected information about the suspected cause. This occurred only after she and family representative Joji Varghase met with Waikato DHB Acting CEO Derek Wright on 3 January 2018.

Shibu and Subi have been unable to work since 9 November 2017, when all three family members collapsed with vomiting, muscle twitching, convulsions and then into a coma, six hours after eating a pork curry made from wild boar. The pork curry was the only food that was eaten solely by the three hospitalised family members. Its only ingredients, apart from the wild pork were commercial spices which were used in other meals without causing any harm.

The initial working diagnosis by the Waikato DHB was a pest control agent such as 1080 poisoning. Several hours later the poisoning by 1080 was replaced by a new theory of suspected botulism. The family is seeking answers to understand why tests were initially done only for botulism and not for other suspected causes, and why the poisoning continued to treated and reported as suspected botulism – to the family, to ACC and to the media- for many weeks after symptoms, tests and expert advice indicated it was not.

1080 poisoning (from pest control) was the Waikato hospital’s initial working and is the last of the nine possible causes investigated by the DHB that closely match the family’s documented symptoms and which cannot be excluded. The urine tests belatedly done for 1080 were well outside the accepted timeframes and are widely regarded to be inaccurate and unreliable.

Recent Investigations have confirmed that dogs owned by the hunter who supplied the pork to the family also became ill with similar twitching symptoms, and the two unborn pups in the pregnant bitch died before their birth.

The family is currently recovering with family in India. They expect to be sufficiently rehabilitated to return to their employment in Putaruru in early March.


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