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One Little Girl's Nightmare With Food Poisoning

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Turlock, CAAnyone having any doubt as to the seriousness and severity of foodborne illness and food poisoning, need only look to the Crutcher family of Turlock, California. Cindy and Les Crutcher's daughter, Isabella, required a kidney transplant after being hit with an E. coli bacterial infection, presumably from bad food.

It is not known if the family has filed, or is contemplating a food poisoning lawsuit—if they were even able to trace the origin of the foodborne illness. According to a story that ran in the Modesto Bee>/i> (9/9/12), the family had travelled to several cities during Spring break, last year.

Shortly after their arrival home, 4-year-old Isabella fell ill with what her parents presumed was the flu, with symptoms of nausea and an inability to keep food down. Their pediatrician was concerned over possible dehydration, and recommended taking the child to the emergency room of Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.

Doctors there quickly dismissed any possibility of the flu in favor of a suspicion for food poisoning—a deduction confirmed within three days when it was discovered Isabella was suffering from an E. coli infection.

The child was airlifted to Children's Hospital Central California in Madera, where she spent six-and-a-half weeks, four in pediatric intensive care. The E. coli infection, it was reported, attacked the little girl's organs—damaging her liver, enlarging her heart and depositing fluid on her lungs.

But she also developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which permanently impacted her kidneys. Once home and having returned to kindergarten, the diminutive food borne illness victim had to undergo peritoneal dialysis at night.

The four-year-old eventually required a kidney transplant. Her father proved to be a perfect match and served as the donor.

She's not out of the woods just yet. The child must endure weekly blood tests so doctors can monitor her condition. She must consume three quarts of water per day to keep her adult-sized kidney flushed out. And Isabella must remain on anti-rejection drugs to ensure her body will not reject the kidney. Her immune system, slowly rebuilding following the ravages of an E. coli infection, remains a constant concern as well.

As foodborne illness cases go, what happened to Isabella Crutcher is every parent's nightmare. But food poisoning can happen to anyone—and patrons consuming food in a restaurant presume the food has been properly handled and prepared according to strict guidelines. Previous foodborne illness outbreaks have affected scores of people, either all having eaten at the same establishment or all having purchased and consumed compromised food from the same retailer or distributor.

Food poisoning, and especially E. coli, can have a serious impact on young children, the elderly or any individual with an immune deficiency. For others, it can represent days or even weeks off work.

Little wonder that so many, having suffered the ill effects of foodborne illness, consult a food poisoning lawyer to assess the potential for compensation.


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