Angela Hadley began experiencing abdominal pain, fever, and frequent diarrhea on the last day of the “Just for Kix” dance camp she was attending at EWU. She was treated at the emergency room and sent home. On July 17, Angela went to the emergency room again, and was admitted to Sacred Heart Medical Center for dehydration. There she provided a stool sample that tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. She was discharged July 20, but was readmitted to the hospital on July 21 and was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition for which there is no known treatment. When Angela’s kidneys started to fail, doctors placed her on hemodialysis to remove toxins from her blood. To date, Angela’s kidneys function below normal, and she is at significantly increased risk for developing kidney problems later in life due to the HUS.
Of 91 campers and seven staff members, 53 had developed symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection by July 18. The Washington State Department of Health traced the source of the infections to romaine lettuce in Caesar salads served at the July 11 dinner for dance camp attendees, and it was further determined that the supplier of the lettuce in question was Spokane Produce, Inc.
Background: William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark, represented a nine year old girl in her $15.6 million settlement in the Jack in the Box E. coli case in 1993. In 1998, Marler Clark resolved the Odwalla Juice E. coli case for the five families whose children developed HUS and were severely injured after consuming contaminated apple juice for $12 million. Since 1993 Marler Clark has successfully resolved well over a thousand food-borne illness matters. Marler Clark is currently involved in litigation related to the ConAgra E. coli O157:H7 outbreak last summer. For additional information on E. coli, visit www.about-ecoli.com or www.foodborneillness.com.
More about the Spokane Produce lettuce E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.