Botulism from Canned Food Spawns MS Man’s 3-Year Survival Struggle

Canned Food

On Thanksgiving weekend 2011, Jay Klein of Mississippi ate some canned food that almost killed him. The former construction worker didn’t know what was happening to him, that a nerve toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria in the food he ate was paralyzing his muscles. Neither did the emergency room doctors who placed him on a ventilator. Six days after Klein was admitted, they prepared to tell his wife Amanda that he was brain dead, although he was actually fully conscious.

Klein, who recently shared his story with WMCTV, says he was aware of what was happening but unable to move or speak. He prayed that God would help him show the doctors he could hear and understand and somehow when the doctor told him to move his leg, Klein did.

 

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Jay Killen struggles to even eat a spoonful of chocolate pudding, after more than two years in and out of the hospital.

 

Man fights to survive after contracting botulism from canned food

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 5:45 AM CST Updated: May 01, 2014 12:02 PM CST

DESOTO COUNTY, MS –

(WMC) – A Horn Lake, Mississippi man is fighting to stay alive after his wife says one bad bite of food destroyed their lives. Mid-South doctors had never seen a case like this before; it is a condition so rare, they contacted the Department of Homeland Security.

“One thing he ate changed our entire lives,” said Amanda Killen.

Jay Killen struggles to even eat a spoonful of chocolate pudding, after more than two years in and out of the hospital.

“This is the first I’ve been able to feed myself,” said Jay.

Around Thanksgiving, in 2011, Jay got sick.

“I thought I was having a stroke or something,” he explained.

So did doctors in the emergency room.

He was unable to move or even breathe; Jay was hooked up to a ventilator and placed in intensive care. By day six, doctors prepared to declare the 40-something former construction worker brain dead.

“He took me right outside the room and said, ‘I have to tell you, that it doesn’t look good,’ ” said his wife.

Paralyzed and unable to speak, Jay was desperate to let everyone know he was awake and aware of his dire circumstances.

“I said ‘God, please! Please help me show them I’m here.’”

Amanda played Jay’s favorite music at his bedside and noted his leg moved in rhythm. Amanda’s mother demanded doctors investigate.

“He said, ‘Jay, move your leg.’ I did,” said Jay.

“He [the doctor] said we’ve got this wrong. He said, ‘We need to figure out what this is but it’s not what we think it is,’” said Amanda.

After conferring with researchers at the Centers for Disease Control, doctors at Baptist DeSoto determined Jay had contracted botulism. It’s a disease that affects fewer than 150 people a year in the United States.

“It paralyzes all of your voluntary muscle function,” Amanda explained.

 

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