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Calne father's suspicion falls on school meals
Last week the Gazette reported the tragic death of CJD victim Edward Peduzie. Now his father tells Lewis Cowen the story of his family’s fight to slow down the terrible disease
The father of variant CJD victim Edward Peduzie is convinced his son contracted the human form of BSE through either school dinners or inoculations.
Paul Peduzie, 62, of Stokes Croft, Calne, speaking just a few days after the funeral of his 25-year-old son, said the young man’s death has left a hole in his heart that nothing can fill.
Edward showed the first signs of the illness that was eventually to claim his life towards the end of 2002.
Mr Peduzie said: “He started to get unsteady on his feet. I didn’t know what he had but I knew it he was seriously ill.”
The family GP arranged an appointment with a neurologist at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. An MRI scan revealed no signs of Mulitple Sclerosis and doctors were baffled.
Then Mr Peduzie saw a documentary on Jonathan Simms from Northern Ireland, who had been diagnosed with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which has been linked with Bovine Spongeiform Encephalopathy.
By this time Edward had been referred to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford and Mr Peduzie expressed his concerns to the doctor there.
He said: “She looked at me as if I had shocked her and said, what made you think of that?”
Eventually a tonsil biopsy was done and in mid-2003 a positive diagnosis of variant CJD was confirmed.
Mr Peduzie made contact with the family of Jonathan Simms in Belfast because Mr Simms’ condition had been slowed by doses of Pentosan Polysulfate, a drug commonly used to treat cystitis, delivered via a shunt into the brain.
But Kennet and North Wiltshire Primary Care Trust refused to sanction the treatment and the Peduzie family had to take the matter to the High Court in London.
Mr Peduzie said: “The case was heard by Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss, who was brilliant.
“She understood that for the treatment to have any effect it needed to be done as quickly as possible. She asked the neurologist in court what would happen to Ed if he didn’t have the drug and was told he would die in six months. That was too much for me. I broke down in court. Dame Elizabeth said we can’t put Dad through this any longer – you’ve won.”
But that wasn’t the end of the family’s struggle. The exceptions committee of the PCT turned it down again and the matter had to go to appeal.
The appeal was won and Edward finally received the treatment he needed. While most victims of vCJD last barely 18 months from diagnosis, Edward lived on for another six years.
He died at the Pewsey home of his mother Avril on October 22 and was buried at Curzon Street cemetery in Calne last week.
Mr Peduzie is convinced his son is another victim of the supply of beef contaminated with BSE in the 1980s, when Edward would have been at school.
He said: “In those days children were being fed mechanically recovered protein in their school dinners. I thought that was just scraps of meat scraped off bone but I now know it involved bone, sinew, brain and spinal cord all minced up together.
“I think beef product was also used in inoculations. I am sure that Ed contracted his disease through one of these.”