A 19-year-old was rushed to the hospital hours after eating leftovers from a restaurant in Massachusetts. After multiple organs failed, he had all his fingers and legs amputated. 

Teen consumed leftovers before falling sick

The college student had consumed Lo Mein, chicken, and rice from a restaurant. According to information from The New England Journal of Medicine, he experienced pain in the abdomen immediately after consuming these foods. Additionally, his skin turned a shade of purple. 

The report stated that the student was healthy and did not excessively drink or smoke. As his condition worsened, he was admitted for rashes, multiple organ failure, and shock. His breathing was abnormal, and he experienced vomiting too. His blood pressure was high as well. 

Further tests revealed a diagnosis of meningococcal purpura fulminans disease. The condition was responsible for not only shock and organ failure but also respiratory collapse, nausea, and stiffness in the neck. The complication is rare and is caused as a result of septic shock, which is what happened to the college student. 

The deadly condition is caused due to bacteria, which results in purpura fulminans, vomiting, and fever. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, the condition can “lead to death in as little as a few hours.” As the disease progressed during his hospital stay, the student developed necrosis. Thus, doctors were forced to amputate his fingers and legs. Doctors also prescribed a pacemaker for 13 days to treat the teen’s cardiac dysfunction. 

Why is leftover rice dangerous?

Experts have cautioned against the hazards of not storing leftover rice properly. A bacterium called Bacillus cereus is present in items such as pasta and rice. When heated and left out for too long, the bacteria produce a toxin. Although the student had received the first dose of the meningococcal vaccine, the medical team discovered that he didn’t receive the recommended booster. The same food was consumed by the student’s roommate too, but apart from vomiting, he didn’t have any serious reactions. 

The Journal of Clinical Microbiology reported a case that occurred in 2008, where a teenager passed away in his sleep after he ate leftover pasta that was not refrigerated overnight. Unfortunately, the bacteria that causes this condition is not just present in rice and pasta; it can also grow in soups, sauces, and other leftovers that aren’t refrigerated. 

That’s why experts recommend cooking and storing food properly. The USDA also recommends that all perishable foods that are left at room temperatures for over two hours should be disposed of. But if you live in a city or town that’s very warm, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw any food that has been left out for over an hour.