Gwyn Wellborn of Salem is recovering from a brush with death from E. coli poisoning that was traced to a bag of Dole baby spinach she bought Aug. 21 at WinCo Foods.
The 27-year-old wife and mother developed a rare complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that affects the kidneys and the blood-clotting system. Doctors at Salem Hospital didn’t expect her to survive, but several blood transfusions and plasma exchanges later, Wellborn pulled through.
About the same time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers about a nationwide outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 stemming from bagged fresh spinach, the law firm Marler Clark filed a personal-injury action suit against Dole Food Co. on behalf of the Wellborns.
The Seattle firm has represented thousands of victims of food poisoning, including some of the people sickened a year ago in a similar outbreak traced to bags of Dole lettuce, attorney Bill Marler said. Marler told the Statesman Journal he has tried and settled $250 million in E. coli poisoning cases during the past 13 years.
The Wellborns are suing Dole for damages including general pain and suffering and medical-related expenses. No monetary amount is listed in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Portland.