We have already heard from several families whose children have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after contracting E. coli O157:H7 from Nestle cookie dough.  Most often, though we certainly see cases where the pathalogic process described below affects other organs, HUS affects the kidneys.  Here is a short explanation of what HUS is, and why it is so

Andrew Martin of the New York Times wrote a nice article this morning on the safety of our food supply.  We represent all three individuals profiled in his article:  Heather Whybrew, Carl Ours, and Mary Tardiff.  All suffered devastating illnesses in separate outbreaks and from different pathogens.  All have unbelievable stories of suffering. 

Heather’s story is unique, perhaps because she had lived through so much pain in her life even before her severe E. coli O157:H7 illness.  In November 2004, after two years of headaches, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Treatment for her relatively rare condition—giant cell glioblastoma—included a full craniotomy to remove the tumor from the left frontal lobe of Heather’s brain. The procedure left her partially paralyzed. She remained hospitalized at Seattle Children’s Hospital and in intensive rehabilitation from November 16 until December 24, 2004.

During her rehabilitation, Heather had to relearn many basic motor functions, including how to walk.  Relearn these skills she did, and despite her brain tumor, Heather eventually went on to college at Pacific Lutheran University.

Heather was infected by E. coli O157:H7 in the midst of finals her freshman year from contaminated lettuce served in a University Cafeteria. She would ultimately be hospitalized at St. Francis Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital for three weeks.  During her hospitalization, Heather battled endless nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, a bad pneumonia illness, and severe blood clots in the superficial veins of her arms.  The combined medical treatment would cost almost $114,000.  She would have to make up her final exams during the next school year.Continue Reading Heather Whybrew’s E. coli O157:H7 Illness