Essex

Nut allergy woman returns to Essex home after five years

Amy May Shead before and after her anaphylactic shock Image copyright Sue Shead
Image caption Amy May Shead's heart stopped for six minutes causing brain damage

A woman who suffered a severe allergic reaction to nuts during a holiday to Hungary has returned to her family home after five years in care.

Amy May Shead, 31, suffered anaphylactic shock from a single bite of a chicken meal on a trip with friends to Budapest in 2014.

She will now receive 24-hour care in a specially-adapted annex of her parents' home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

Her mother Sue said it was "lovely to have her home".

Miss Shead was left brain damaged, partially paralysed, and unable to see or speak properly after she suffered a severe allergic reaction during the meal at a restaurant in Budapest.

Image copyright Amy May Trust
Image caption Amy May Shead is now back home with her parents Roger and Sue

The former ITV producer had managed her nut allergy throughout school and university, and always carried medication she needed to counteract a reaction, her mother said.

She had produced an allergy card to staff at the restaurant in Hungary three times and was assured the meal did not contain nuts.

Image copyright Amy May Trust
Image caption Nursing staff at the Marillac Care centre say farewell to Miss Shead after three years

Her reaction was "immediate" and resulted in a cardiac arrest, during which Miss Shead's heart stopped for six minutes causing brain damage, her mother added.

She spent a year at both St Thomas' Hospital and the Putney Neurological unit and has lived at the Marillac Care centre in Brentwood for the last three years.

Miss Shead uses a wheelchair, and a 24-hour care package is now in place allowing her to live with her parents in a purpose-built annex.

"Amy was the most vivacious, outgoing, bubbly young lady you could ever wish to meet," her mother said.

"We are still devastated. Every day is hard to get through. But we'd do anything for her."

Image copyright Amy May Trust
Image caption Amy May Shead with her aunt Julie and cousin Tom, who have set up a trust

A trust, established in her name by her aunt Julie Martin and cousin Tom, raises money for the intensive physiotherapy and speech and language therapy she receives four times a week.

"This layer of tragedy should never have happened, because Amy took every precaution with her allergy," Mrs Martin said.

"Her parents' lives have been swept away as well.

"They are devoted, and have committed their lives to their daughter. But as you can imagine, they're also heartbroken."

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