A woman was hospitalized with paralysis after eating expired pesto that she bought at a market in Brazil.
“I couldn’t move my body,” Doralice Carneiro Sobreira Goes, 47, told Jam Press of the food-induced affliction.
The horrific saga began in December 2021 after Goes purchased a jar of pesto from a local store which she noted was missing several important specifications on the label.
“The pesto didn’t have an expiration date, he didn’t give me storage instructions either but I was a frequent customer,” described the public servant and gymnast, who planned to mix the condiment in sauces to be used on toast and in salads.
However, Goes waited until January 2022 before actually consuming the pesto.
Despite it staying on the shelf for over a year, she wasn’t worried about the sauce being spoiled as the color and aroma were the same as when she had initially purchased it.
The taste didn’t raise any alarm bells either. “When I decided to finally have some, it was delicious,” gushed Goes, who subsequently realized something was seriously awry.
“[The next day], I was [slept] for 11 hours straight,” recalled the petrified pesto lover. “My body didn’t feel right, my breathing had gotten worse, and my tongue felt like it was tingling.”
Disaster struck after Goes attempted to drive to the hospital. “I drove 20km to the hospital, parked the car, and then my body stopped working,” recounted the Brazilian.
As she was unable to, the paralyzed gal had to throw herself out of the moving vehicle in order to avert an accident.
Goes subsequently flagged down a hospital attendant, whereupon she was admitted and taken in for a CT scan — all while continuing to vomit and struggling to breathe.
During the exam, the patient noticed that her body wouldn’t respond to commands and she was only able to wiggle two toes.
Doctors subsequently diagnosed her with botulism, a “rare but serious” illness in which powerful bacteria-borne toxins attack the body’s nerves, causing respiratory issues, muscle paralysis and even death, per the US Centers For Disease Control.
Physicians speculated that in Goes’ case, the bacteria had likely proliferated in her improperly stored pesto, and after ingestion, their toxins had ravaged the poor woman’s nervous system.
“It was one of the only things I had recently eaten, plus, it was homemade,” said Goes.
She was administered an anti-botulin drug, which allowed her to move her fingers and speak in small sentences again.
Despite surviving the ordeal, Goes had to stay in the hospital for nearly a year, during which she was hooked up to breathing machines and feeding tubes.
She also underwent daily treatments ranging from painkillers to suction cups and electroshocks for her chronic agony.
In addition, doctors prescribed the patient Pilates and other physical therapy exercises to help re-strengthen and re-tone muscles that had been atrophied by the botulism.
“When I got more strength in my upper body, I also adapted to playing table tennis,” she said.
After a grueling ten months and ten days, Goes was finally discharged and is recuperating well.
“I have been breathing without help for nine months, which is a good sign,” recalled the grateful patient. “I can now urinate by myself and feed myself.”
She added, “I have the help of a walker to help me get around, but it is still hard.”
While her body was better, her mind still remained plagued by the incident, however.
Hoping to get to the bottom of her poisoning, both Goes’ sister and state officials visited the vendor responsible and conducted a thorough investigation to try and see how the pesto was stored.
The store owner apologized and no future action was taken.
In light of the incident, Goes is extra cautious about where she buys her food.
“I’m careful when buying from restaurants, shops, fairs,” she said. “I now only like to buy food from manufacturers to avoid any more accidents.”