December 30, 2005
THE grieving widow of the state’s second listeria food-poisoning victim fears she may never know how her husband of 38 years contracted the deadly bacteria.
Breaking her silence to The Advertiser, Lorna Davies-Colgate said she was still waiting for the Health Department to tell her how her husband David, 60, was infected.
Although he had been seriously ill, Mrs Davies-Colgate had been hopeful her husband would celebrate Christmas with their family.
She said she felt the listeria had “cheated” her of precious time with her husband and it had been a “sad Christmas” and would be an “even sadder New Year”.
“I feel a bit cheated out of time because it was the infection, not the cancer, that killed him,” Mrs Davies-Colgate said.
She confirmed Mr Davies-Colgate had also been in St Andrew’s and Wakefield hospitals before his death.
A doctor had informed her soon after her husband’s death that he had had listeria food poisoning and authorities from the Health Department had called her within days.
But to date, the source of the listeria which infected Mr Davies-Colgate remains unknown. Health authorities have said it was not linked to an outbreak at Conroy’s Smallgoods or any of the hospitals he stayed in.
Mrs Davies-Colgate said she wanted answers about when and how her husband got the infection, but health authorities say these answers may never be found.
A Health Department spokeswoman said it had run out of lines of inquiry.
The department has placed a listeria sample from Mr Davies-Colgate on to a national data base to search for similar strains in a nationwide bid to find answers.
Mr Davies-Colgate is one of two people to have died from listeria poisoning in South Australia this year.
Richard Formosa contracted listeria while being treated for diabetes in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He died on October 31, soon after his 53rd birthday.
Tests by the SA Health Department proved that the strain of listeria that contributed to Mr Formosa’s death was the same as that found linked to Conroy’s Smallgoods in Bowden.
The listeria was found in the plant and in corned beef, but tests have also shown that this was a different strain to that which contributed to Mr Davies-Colgate’s death.