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Published On: Wed, Sep 19th, 2012

Salmonella victim, Monika Samaan, back in court as KFC Australia appeals payout verdict

Five months after an Australian judge awarded 14-year-old Monika Samaan an $8 million verdict against the fast food giant for negligence causing the child to contract a severe case of salmonellosis 7 years ago, which has left her wheelchair bound.

Photo/Jonrev via Wikimedia Commons

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report Wednesday, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is appealing the damages awarded to Samaan, describing their appeal as three-pronged, which includes “the failure to consider evidence”, an “error in the judge’s factual findings” and the weight given to certain evidence.

In addition, KFC attorneys are trying to force Monika Samaan and her family to pay its legal costs from her 2009 court hearing, which are likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In October 2005, then 7-year-old Monika became ill after eating the majority of a KFC chicken Twister wrap. Other family members became ill also.

The disease left Monika suffering the following symptoms: severe cognitive dysfunction, motor and speech impairment and spastic quadriplegia. She even slipped into a coma while hospitalized.

The wheelchair-bound Samaan suffered a rare episode of salmonella encephalopathy. According to a study published in 2001 in the Journal of Child Neurology, a patient with salmonella encephalopathy can exhibit a rapid evolution of coma after the onset of lethargy or seizure. Fever and diarrhea due to salmonellosis precedes these events.

In April, Justice Stephen Rothman found in favor of Samaan in court and determined that KFC was negligent for not following proper food preparation rules.

A KFC statement to the media stated,

“We feel deeply for Monika Samaan and her family but we continue to believe our food is perfectly safe and that the evidence in this case showed the incident was unrelated to our products – that’s why we made the difficult decision to appeal Justice Rothman’s decision.

“In more than 50 years of operations in Australia, KFC has earned a reputation for serving freshly prepared food following the highest food safety standards and has had no other case like this.”

In an interesting footnote, a user of the social news site, Reddit, posted a photo of a very disturbing and disgusting KFC chicken sandwich in which the chicken appeared to be raw. To see the photo and the accompaning report, click here.

About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He regularly writes about infectious disease news for Examiner.com and administers the Outbreak News section of The Global Dispatch.

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