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E. coli infection spurs lawsuit


by Lance Coleman

of The (Maryville, TN) Daily Times Staff

A Chattanooga resident filed a lawsuit against the owners of Peninsula Village Monday claiming she contracted E. coli while at the Louisville facility.

In Blount County Circuit Court, Catherine Russe sued Covenant Health, doing business as Peninsula Village.

According to the suit:

In June, 1999, Russe was a resident at Peninsula Village, a facility that houses about 70 teens, ages 13 to 18 years old.

Later that month, the infection control nurse at the facility reported a number of cases of diarrhea. On June 24, Russe began experiencing diarrhea, required medical care, and a culture was taken and returned positive for E. coli.

The Centers for Disease Control opened an investigation and learned Russe and a male resident shared a pattern "indicating a single source of the E. coli outbreak.''

"The CDC, after a thorough investigation, concluded that the most likely source of the E. coli infections were meals served in the kitchen at 'Peninsula Village,''' the suit said.

After onset of diarrhea, Russe's condition quickly deteriorated, she was hospitalized at Fort Sanders Hospital and then transferred to East Tennessee Children's Hospital for acute diarrheal illness.

Russe's condition didn't improve and while at Children's Hospital, her kidneys began to fail and she was transferred to University of Tennessee Medical Center. At UT, Russe was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening condition for which there is no known treatment, the suit said.

Russe remained at UT for 17 days, was discharged on July 17, 1999, and has continued to suffer complications.

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