A TESCO delivery driver almost died after a cut on his face became infected with rat urine at one of the supermarket’s vermin-infested depots.
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Darren Finn, 42, is lucky to be alive after being hospitalised with deadly Weil’s disease, which spread through his body turning his skin ‘Homer Simpson yellow’ and causing his kidneys to fail.
Doctors believe the lorry driver contracted the disease through a minor cut on his eye after handling empty packaging and food waste while carrying out deliveries from the supermarket giant’s now-closed depot in Harlow, Essex.
The dad-of-two was admitted to hospital in November 2012 where doctors treated him for kidney failure, jaundice and loss of liver function while they struggled to establish what had caused his body to go into near-fatal shutdown.
It wasn’t until five days later that test results finally pinpointed Weil’s disease, a rare infection caught from animals.
Mr Finn, who now works for logistics company DHL, has received a five-figure settlement after Tesco ended a five-year legal battle.
He said: “I honestly believe if I hadn’t gone to hospital when I did, I wouldn’t be here now.
“After two weeks of battling extreme flu-like symptoms my eyes and skin both turned a violent shade of yellow and I could barely walk.
“By the time I arrived in hospital it felt like every part of my body was bruised and my head was going to explode with the pain.
“If I had waited another day to go to hospital the disease would have spread to my heart and lungs.
“I gave a urine sample to the doctors when I got there and it was the same colour as a glass of Coca Cola.
“That’s when I really started to worry and they began asking if I had been on holiday recently or on a fishing trip. Had I been anywhere where I could have come into contact with rat urine?
“I had never heard of it before and had no idea you could catch it from rats but I knew instantly it had to be from work.
“Rats were constantly urinating over everything – the waste cardboard, cages we moved things in and the floor. It wasn’t uncommon for it to drip on my face.”
Mr Finn said it was common to come into contact with rats on a daily basis while working for the multinational company, which employs more than 500,000 people across 7,000 stores.