February 19, 2023 9.00 am This story is over 14 months old

Lincolnshire man training for marathon six years after ‘curry led to near paralysis’

David spent two-and-half months in hospital

A Lincolnshire man became very ill with Gastroenteritis after eating a chicken curry which then caused him to develop Guillain-Barré syndrome and suffer near complete paralysis.

David Miller, 43, relocated from London to Welbourn in November 2016 with his wife Kirsty and their daughter Elise, who was one-year-old at the time.

He was still recovering from Gastroenteritis close to Cristmas 2016, when he started to get pins and needles in his fingers and toes which then spread to the core of his body. Around a week later, he couldn’t walk properly and was in a wheelchair.

After previously being sent home from his GP and A&E with ‘incorrect diagnoses’, a doctor at A&E recognised the illness and David found out he had Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a very rare and serious condition that affects the nerves, but according to the NHS it can be treated and most people will eventually make a fully recovery, which proved to be the case for David.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system, which David believes was caused by a takeaway medium chicken curry he’d had several months before.

David in the Rehabilitation Ward with his daughter Elise.

David was admitted to Lincoln County Hospital in January 2017 and said he was “still on a downward trajectory” at that point.

He remained in hospital until March of that year, going from ICU to the Rehabilitation Ward, where he slowly recovered and relearnt how to walk, and he needed helping feeding and washing.

The family want to say a big thank you all the “wonderful doctors, nurses and physios at Lincoln hospital”.

David told The Lincolnite: “All indicators were that it was the curry that I’d had a few months before which caused the Gastroenteritis, which caused a low and confused immune system that then let to Guillain-Barré syndrome.

“It’s amazing really. It does make you think about food and the knock-on effect. It was a year of my life that it affected. My eating habits haven’t really changed, but it does make you think.

“I am just grateful for the fact I was able to make a full recovery and can now focus more on the now.”

David with his daughters Elise and Eva.

David added: “I wasn’t completely paralysed but nearly. I had a little bit of movement in my hips, but not enough to roll over in bed and I couldn’t do much including feed myself.

“It affected my whole body including my eyes and my focus. I remember trying to watch some football, but I couldn’t see where the ball was, I could just about see the players moving.”

After two-and-a-half months in hospital in Lincoln, David was discharged. He used crutches whilst recovering at home, and had to have specialist equipment such as a bath chair and grab rails.

He was still unable to fully work and he was unable to return to work until August 2017. He is a contractor who has done digital work with the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Justice, and the Department for Education, and in his currently role with DEFRA since October 2021.

David is now regularly running as he trains for the London Marathon.

Over six years on from his illness and time in hospital, David is fully fit and has been running regularly. He is currently training for his longest distance yet – the London Marathon on Sunday, April 23.

He is hoping to raise £1,500 for the John Muir Trust’s Wild Woods Appeal, which helps to restore and expand native woodlands in the UK – donate to his fundraiser here.

When he is not training for the marathon, David loves to spend time with his family including his two daughters Elise, 7, and Eva, 3.

He said: “Because I’ve been running regularly for a couple of years it feels like a natural step to do a longer distance and raise money, particularly for environmental causes. The training is going well and I feel like I’m on track”.

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