On March 30, when they testified on franceinfo, Michael and Leslie spent most of the day at their daughter’s bedside, plunged into a coma at the Clocheville hospital in Tours, after eating a Buitoni pizza two weeks earlier. At the time, the link between the pain in the kidneys and stomach of Bérénice, aged 7, and what she had swallowed in her stomach was not yet established. This is now the case. The little girl was contaminated with E.Coli and her parents filed a complaint.
Four weeks later, Berenice is better, whether at the renal, neurological or cardiac level. She is coming out of coma, after two weeks of deep sedation and a week of difficult awakening. For his parents, this is already a first victory. “We went through all the emotions, explains Mickaël, the dad. First there was the fear of losing our daughter, helplessness in the face of what she was going through, incomprehension because we wondered why it was falling on her. And then today, there is a form of relief.”
We will always remember when she smiled for the first time after waking up
With his wife Leslie, he wants to remain dignified. Despite the fatigue of going back and forth between the house in the suburbs of Tours to take care of the older one and the hospital to watch over the youngest. Despite the psychological suffering accumulated for two months. “We took a lot. You should know that the disease attacked Bérénice’s neurological system and when she said to me: ‘No, it’s not you, my mum, I want to see my mum’. Well, it’s very shocking to hear that as a parent. It’s hard. She didn’t recognize us anymore and we didn’t recognize our daughter anymore. She had no expression, nothing.”assures Leslie.
The worst is over now. “We will always remember when she first smiled after waking up, says the mother, on the verge of tears. It took time but it is an incomparable emotion. It’s like your baby is smiling at you for the first time. It was night, I was reading her favorite book and she smiled at me. And there, we said to ourselves that we could believe a little in better days.
Everything is not perfect because Bérénice still has this necrosis on her leg caused by edema. A collateral damage of what she suffered to fight the disease, and which forces her to go to the operating room twice a week to change the bandage. And the dead cells in her kidneys may force her, when she’s an adult, to take lifelong medication or undergo a transplant.. All because of pizza. But Mickaël refuses to fall into anger. “There is a little, necessarily, but it is not exacerbated. The anger will be for later. I think I will go into a fury the day the investigation begins, when we have the confessions or not officials. Because for the moment, there is nothing, there is not even an appointed investigating judge, which is amazing. But for the moment, I am focusing on my daughter only”, explains the father, still on sick leave, while the mother has taken over part-time. In the morning she goes to work. And in the afternoon, at the hospital.
“The other day, with Bérénice, we were watching television in her hospital room, chase the daddy. Comes across an advertisement that talks about a pizza. I see her watching with many questions, very circumspect. And I’m like, ‘You know, just because you ate pizza that made you sick doesn’t mean we’ll never eat pizza again.’ I told him that we would eat pizzas made differently, that we would pick them up in a small van or that we would make them ourselves. But that we would no longer buy them frozen.”
Mickaël and Leslie still do not know when they will be four again at home because the doctors give no date of discharge from the hospital. For the mother, planning has become too complicated. “In this story, we learned to live from day to day, even if I sometimes think a little about what could happen later. But I can’t imagine the day when we will all be together. The house is really my pet peeve. I’m there barely two hours a day and that’s fine with me, it’s my husband who takes care of our eldest the most. The house is not is more representative of our family today.”