Unemployed couple in Seville die after reported food-poisoning case

Husband and wife had been trying to make ends meet by collecting cardboard and recycling paper

Three members of the same family died on Saturday after they reportedly ate spoiled food, authorities said Sunday.

The 50-year-old woman, her 61-year-old husband and their 14-year-old daughter died after being rushed from their home in Alcalá de Guadaíra, outside of Seville, to a local hospital. The couple was identified as Concepción Bautista and Enrique Caño. The girl’s name was withheld.

Their 13-year-old daughter was taken to the Vírgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville, where she was reported as being in a fair condition on Sunday after being released from the intensive care unit. Health officials are also giving her psychological treatment.

According to the authorities, the food was consumed on Friday night, and soon afterwards they began to fall ill. Their symptoms included diarrhea and vomiting.

Town officials expressed their “profound grief” over the tragedy

The man was an unemployed plumber who lost his job at a insurance firm some years back.

Miguel Ángel López, the woman’s nephew, said Sunday that the family hasn’t ruled out taking legal action against the region’s health department because of the way they handled the emergency care. But López said that the family was still waiting the autopsy reports.

“They were trying to get by with what they could,” López said during an interview at the San Jerónimo funeral home on Sunday.

According to sources, the couple had been trying to make ends meet by collecting discarded cardboard and recycling paper, starting their rounds at 6am, Efe news agency reported.

Seville municipal sources said the couple had electricity and running water in their home and had not asked the municipality for special assistance.

At around 2.55am, emergency medical service (EMS) officials were called to the scene after the husband called complaining of vomiting and nausea. A crew comprised of a physician, nurse and driver was sent to the home in Alcalá de Guadaíra. According to health officials, the team followed all the correct procedures in dealing with the emergency. Medics found the couple in a serious condition and the 14-year-old girl suffering from respiratory failure.

The team called in for another backup health crew and took the couple and the two children to Valme University Hospital, where the husband, wife and 14-year-old died.

Health officials in Seville sent out an emergency warning to area residents late Saturday but called off the alert on Sunday afternoon. Authorities searched all the foodstuffs and kitchen supplies at the house to try to determine the cause of the couple’s death.

The survivors had asked officials at the Alcalá de Guadaíra municipality for assistance with the funeral services. In a statement, town officials expressed their “profound grief” over the tragedy.

Law enforcement authorities have asked a judge investigating the deaths to seal the case file until the inquiry is completed. “The municipality is asking the public for respect and not to speculate as to the causes of the deaths until the full inquiry is carried out,” the statement said.