Woman dies after Xmas lunch

A person has died after suffering food poisoning following a Christmas Day pub lunch in Hornchurch in Essex. 30 other diners have been taken ill.

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Family release photo of Christmas lunch victim

Della Callagher, 46, died after suffering food poisoning following the turkey lunch. Credit: Family handout

The family of Della Callagher, who died after suffering suspected food poisoning after eating a Christmas Day pub lunch in Essex, have released a photo of her.

Her husband, John Callagher, earlier attacked Queen's Hospital in Romford for its treatment of his wife.


Husband 'disgusted' over treatment of poisoned wife

Della Callagher, 46, felt ill after the meal at the Railway Hotel and was taken to the Queen's Hospital in Romford, her husband John told the Evening Standard.

The hospital effectively turned my wife away when there could have been more of a chance of saving her life.

It was disgusting the way she was dealt with.

We were about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Della was so fit and healthy, I can’t believe it. This is devastating.

Dr Mike Gill, Medical Director at Queen's Hospital, said:

A patient attended our Emergency Department on Boxing Day with what appeared to be food poisoning. The patient was seen and fully assessed by a senior clinician, and given appropriate treatment and advice before returning home.

The Trust followed accepted medical practice. We will be fully reviewing the case. We have written to the family offering our condolences at this very difficult time and inviting them to meet with medical staff who can answer any queries or concerns they may have.

Pub owners 'fully cooperating' with HPA poisoning inquiry

Ember Inns, which owns the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch in Essex, has said its food was prepared to the highest hygiene standards.

A spokesman told the London Evening Standard:

The local authority is investigating an alleged food poisoning outbreak at the Railway.

We are fully co-operating.

Until the investigation is complete we can’t speculate about a possible cause or source.

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HPA: 'We've been working with council to identify cause of illness'

Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time. We have been working with Environmental Health Officers at Havering Council to identify the cause of illness and any links to food eaten at the venue.

The venue has been cooperating fully with our investigations.

Clostridium perfringens bacteria are the third most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and this mostly occurs in relation to red meat or poultry.

Indications suggest that this outbreak is an isolated event.

People become unwell on average after about 12 hours of eating food contaminated with Clostridium perfringens, with diarrhoea and abdominal pain being the main symptoms.

The illness generally lasts no more than a few days although vulnerable groups such as very young children, elderly people, and those with underlying health problems can be more seriously affected.

It is rare for a person to die as a direct result of food poisoning.

People who become unwell with symptoms of food poisoning are advised to drink plenty of fluids and take rest at home.

If symptoms are particularly severe or do not settle within two days then they should seek medical advice.

– Dr Deborah Turbitt, director of the Health Protection Agency’s local Health Protection Unit
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