'They sent her home and she lay in my arms dying': heartbroken husband slams hospital and pub after wife dies from suspected Christmas Day food poisoning

Della Callagher, 46, fell ill after eating dinner at the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch

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The Independent Online

The devastated husband of a woman, who died from food poisoning after eating Christmas dinner at an Essex pub, has claimed his wife was sent home from hospital just hours before her death.

Della Callagher, 46, fell ill after eating dinner at the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch.

Seven other diners were also ill after eating turkey during the meal, but all recovered.

However, Mrs Callagher’s condition deteriorated and on Boxing Day she was taken to Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, her husband John, 51, said: 'She was in a really bad way but the hospital just sent her home. I was ill myself but she was in a terrible state.

'They sent her home and she just lay in my arms, basically she was dying. We called an ambulance and went back to the hospital but she barely had a pulse.'

Despite medical assistance Mrs Callagher, who had a 14-year-old daughter, died on December 27.

Mr Callagher, who is chief executive of a recruitment firm, told the Evening Standard he is planning legal action against the pub and the hospital.

He said: “This was an avoidable tragedy. The pub have not apologised personally to me or my family.

“The hospital effectively turned my wife away when there could have been more of a chance of saving her life. It was disgusting the way she was dealt with. We were about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

“Della was so fit and healthy, I can’t believe it. This is devastating.”

According to reports 30 people fell ill after eating in the pub.

Ember Inns, which owns the Railway Hotel, said its food was prepared to the highest hygiene standards.

A spokesman said: “The local authority is investigating an alleged food poisoning outbreak at the Railway. We are fully co-operating. Until the investigation is complete we can’t speculate about a possible cause or source.”

Queen’s Hospital chief executive Averil Dongworth said: “The patient was seen and fully assessed by a senior clinician, and given appropriate treatment and advice before returning home. The Trust followed accepted medical practice. We will be fully reviewing the case. We have written to the family offering our condolences... and inviting them to meet with medical staff who can answer any queries or concerns.”