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Friend Of Man Who Became Paralysed After Eating A Slug Talks About The Night It Happened

Claire Reid

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Friend Of Man Who Became Paralysed After Eating A Slug Talks About The Night It Happened

Featured Image Credit: The Project/Network Ten

The friend of an Australian man who became paralysed after eating a slug and contracting a rare disease has spoken about the night it happened.

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Speaking to Australian news programme The Project, Jimmy Galvin said he and Sam Ballard were drinking at a party with pals in 2010 when Sam spotted the slug and had an idea.

He said: "We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across.

"The conversation came up: 'Should I eat it?' Off Sam went. Bang. That's how it happened."

However, shortly after eating it, Sam fell ill and was rushed into hospital.

Once there, medics told him he had become infected with 'rat lungworm' - usually found in the faeces of rats, but which can be spread by slugs and snails if they come into contact with rodents' excrement.

Credit: The Project/Network Ten
Credit: The Project/Network Ten

Although the condition is usually symptomless, in Sam's case it caused an infection on the brain. He was diagnosed with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and fell into a coma, where he remained for 420 days. Since coming round he has become quadriplegic and needs 24-hour care.

His heart-broken mum Katie said prior to this she believed her fit and healthy son was 'invincible' and never thought anything like this could happen to him.

She said: "It's devastated, changed his life forever - changed my life forever. It's huge. The impact is huge."

Sam, now aged 28, needs a motorised wheelchair to get around. His family and friends have rallied round and spent time raising money to ensure that he gets the care he needs.

Katie told the Daily Telegraph that as a result of his illness, Sam has seizures and cannot control his body temperature. He is also reliant on a tube to feed him, all of which is costing the family a lot.

His mum applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2016 and Sam was granted a AUD $492,000 package.

Sam before he fell ill. Credit: The Project/Network Ten
Sam before he fell ill. Credit: The Project/Network Ten

However, in September last year, she was told this was being cut to AUD $135,000 - a move which Katie says has left her family heavily in debt. They already owe one nursing service AUD $42,000. She is now attempting to get the case reviewed so Sam can get the financial support he needs.

Topics: World News, Australia

Claire Reid
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