By Calvin Palmer
An Australian family is suing KFC, claiming their seven-year-old daughter became brain damaged and crippled after eating a Chicken Twister tainted with salmonella.
Monika Samaan developed salmonella poisoning from a chicken wrap bought from a KFC outlet at Villawood, in west Sydney, in October 2005.
The girl, now aged 11, attended court in a wheelchair. Her lawyer, Anthony Bartley, said she had acquired spastic quadriplegia and an intellectual disability since the poisoning.
Giving evidence in the New South Wales Supreme Court today, Amanwial Samaan said Monika ended up being in a coma for six months and in hospital for seven.
KFC has denied responsibility for her illness, pointing out 96 other “crispy strips” — the main ingredient of a twister — were sold that day at the Villawood outlet but “no other diner had fallen ill”.
The fast food chain also says different versions were given about what the family had eaten.
Speaking through an Arabic interpreter, Samaan said he, his wife Hanna, son Abanou and Monika all fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after sharing the twister.
His mother, who was staying with them as his wife gave birth to their third child on October 21, did not eat any of the twister and remained healthy.
He said his wife went to a doctor on October 25 with the children and they were given medicine, but their health still deteriorated.
On October 26, Monika collapsed on the sofa and he called for an ambulance.
Monika and Abanou were admitted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, while he and his wife were ultimately admitted to the adult section at Westmead.
He said Monika was rushed into the intensive care unit and looked “totally dead” to him.
“In a meeting the doctors told me in six hours’ time she will die,” Samaan said.
His local Coptic Orthodox priest came to the hospital, while a Catholic priest present also comforted him.
“They just prayed for her and asked us to pray,” Samman said.
Since his daughter’s illness, Samaan said he has given up his job as a fork-lift driver to look after her.
The trial continues before Justice Stephen Rothman.