Student Had Legs, Fingers Amputated After Eating Leftover Takeout


By Yaron Steinbuch

A 19-year-old college student developed sepsis and lost his legs and fingers after eating leftover Chinese takeout food in what a doctor described as a “perfect storm” of events.

Dr. Bernard Hsu, a licensed toxicologist, described how the young man became severely ill after eating tainted leftovers, including lo mein, chicken and rice.

“This was a freak accident happening in a perfect storm sequence of events,” Hsu, who did not treat the man, said in a YouTube video on Feb 16.

The teen’s case was first reported in March 2021, which detailed how he was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital as he was suffering from “shock, multiple organ failure, skin mottling, and a rapidly progressive reticular rash.”

“The patient had been well until 20 hours before this admission, when diffuse abdominal pain and nausea developed after he ate rice, chicken, and lo mein leftovers from a restaurant meal,” the outlet said.

“Multiple episodes of emesis [vomiting] occurred, with vomitus that was either bilious or red-brown. The abdominal pain and vomiting were followed by the development of chills, generalized weakness, progressively worsening diffuse myalgias [muscle pains], chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, neck stiffness, and blurry vision,” it added.

The part-time restaurant worker’s temperature was over 105 degrees Fahrenheit, his heart rate was 166 beats per minute and his respiratory rate was 28 breaths per minute, the medical journal said.

“A diffuse reticular [netlike] purpuric rash was present on the face, chest, abdomen, back, arms, and legs, sparing the palms and soles,” it added.

He underwent blood and urine tests and was diagnosed with a bacterial infection called Neisseria meningitidis, which caused his blood to clot and his liver to fail.

His skin necrosis was said to be caused by “purpura fulminans,” a severe complication of meningococcal septicemia.

Doctors discovered that he had only received one of three doses of a meningococcal conjugate vaccine without a booster, and had only received one dose of a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine out of two or three recommended by the CDC, Newsweek reported.

After getting parts of all fingers and his legs below his knees amputated, the man went on to have a “relatively good recovery.”

A friend had eaten the same meal as the victim and vomited — but did not become progressively sick, according to the report.

The shocking case has received renewed attention thanks to a Hsu’s video posted on his YouTube channel called “Chubbyemu,” which has 2.46 million subscribers.

The video, which identifies the student as “JC,” has been viewed over 1 million times as of Tuesday afternoon.

To reduce the risk of food poisoning from bacteria, leftover food should be refrigerated no later than two hours after it is removed from a heat source.


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