'No permanent damage' to poisoned toddler's lungs

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The Independent Online

A little girl hospitalised during a family holiday in Cyprus after a barman diluted her orange juice with chemical detergent suffered no permanent damage to her lungs in the accident, doctors said today.

Two-year-old Annabel Rhodes faces further hospital tests today to see how badly the fluid - thought to be nitric acid - damaged her oesophagus.

The toddler is sitting up and smiling today in her bed at the Archbishop Makarios III hospital in Nicosia, the island's capital, paediatric lung specialist Dr Panicos Yiallouros said.

He said: "She is sitting up and much better today. We have to do tests on her oesophagus. Her lungs are fine but we will be putting a liquid down to X-ray and see what the damage is."

"She will not be going home today but maybe by the end of the week.

He added: "She smiles when she sees her mother is here. She is very good and she doesn't complain at all.

"I think she understands what has happened to her but she still cannot speak."

Annabel was taken ill at the Curium Palace hotel in Limassol when a barman unwittingly put the cleaning fluid in her drink instead of water, police said.

The noxious liquid was stored in a clear plastic bottle, detectives said. It has been sent for tests.

Initially Annabel was critically ill but she made a quick recovery and was taken off a ventilator helping her breathe on Tuesday afternoon.

Her parents, Mark, 55, and Judith, 32, returned to their daughter's bedside today. They have been by her side since the accident on Saturday.

They have asked for their privacy to be respected at an emotionally difficult time.

Mr Rhodes, from Paddington, west London, is chief executive of two oil transportation companies, Petrotrans and Alegratrans, part of the Greenoak group, which have offices in Limassol.

Police are still investigating what happened but have made no arrests. Staff at the 4-star hotel have refused to comment.