There are loads of reasons to be terrified of weird diseases. If you have a spare few minutes, a quick scan of the internet is all you need to know that even the most graphic horror films can’t come close to what you can find lurking in a grotty bathroom. Anyone with a weak stomach should avoid googling “necrotising fasciitis” at all costs.
Unsurprisingly, all the scary things waiting to get us seem to have set some members of the public permanently on edge. People are more determined than ever to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting themselves from nasty germs. But, for all the hand sanitiser and vigorous scrubbing, strange ailments can still get us when we least suspect it. Such an incident seems to have befallen an unfortunate Texan woman after an unusually dramatic Chinese meal.
Two years ago, 62-year-old Germaine Mobley sat down for a quiet lunch at the Asian King Buffet in Waxachie, Texas. Expecting to enjoy a relaxed chat over an array of all you can eat treats, Mobley set off for the buffet, plate in hand. After loading herself up with a selection of snacks, including a helping of special fried rice, she returned to the table and commenced munching.
After finishing her meal, Mobley jumped in her car and began the short drive home. It was only a few minutes before things started to go wrong. As she would later report to the New York Post, Mobley “just started vomiting”, barely managing to make it home. Crawling into bed, she assumed that it was a small bug that would pass by morning.
To her dismay, Mobley woke to discover that she could no longer breathe properly. Gasping for air, she called for assistance from her husband, who quickly realised that the situation was dire. As someone who had suffered from previous respiratory health conditions, Mobley’s current plight was not something to be taken lightly. According to The Dallas News, she remained in the ICU for eight days, where she was forced to used a ventilator to stay alive.
After suffering through this ordeal, Mobley was determined to find out what had caused her sickness. A consultation with medical experts and attorney Kathryn Knotts quickly made it clear to Mobley that she had fallen victim to a particularly potent bout of fried rice syndrome.
Though it sounds like something you might develop if you were kidnapped by a packet of Uncle Ben’s, fried rice syndrome is no laughing matter. Caused by the bacteria bacillus cereus, the syndrome is most commonly caused by eating cooked rice that has been left sitting at room temperature for several hours. After learning about the potentially lethal bacteria, Mobley decided that the Asian King Buffet must be to blame.
Along with her legal team, the angry diner has now put together a $1million lawsuit against the restaurant, alleging that poor hygiene and inconsiderate service contributed to her extremely unpleasant eight day hospital stay. Though the restaurant have been quick to deny any wrongdoing, it’s clear fried rice syndrome is a whole lot more serious than it first sounds.
Regardless whether Mobley’s suit is successful, this story of potential rice poisoning serves as a valuable reminder to anyone eyeing up their leftover Chinese. However tasty your day-old fried rice might be, even a forkful isn’t worth the risk for anyone seriously afraid of horrible illness.