4-Year-Old Girl Dies From E. Coli After Sharing Turkey Sandwich With Friend

The following is a truly horrifying and heartbreaking story that will make you hug your children a little harder today: a 4-year-old girl from Oregon has died from complications resulting from a fast-hitting strain of the E. coli virus. Serena Profitt was perfectly healthy until Labor Day weekend, when she, her family, her 5-year-old friend Brad Sutton, and his parents shared a meal at a local restaurant. The two friends split a turkey sandwich -- and just a few days later, both began suffering from gastrointestinal pains.

Serena's stools had turned bloody and she was unable to keep food down. Her mother, Aleasha Hargitt-Profitt, says they took their little girl to the hospital, but no one could figure out what was wrong and she was never tested for the deadly bacteria.

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On Saturday morning, Serena's body went into complete shock. After taking her to a different emergency room, doctors found that she had gone into complete kidney failure and needed immediate dialysis. And that's when it was finally discovered she had contracted E. coli -- possibly from the turkey sandwich.

The family received false hope the next day when Serena woke up looking better than she had since she got sick. But her recovery didn't last long -- she suffered a stroke shortly thereafter, and doctors broke the news to her poor parents that Serena's brain was "covered in blood." Her heartbroken family had to make the impossible call to pull her off of life support.

As I write this, another family is dealing with a similar sickening reality. Brad, the young friend who ate the same turkey sandwich, is in critical condition at a hospital in Tacoma, Washington, after being diagnosed with a strain of E. coli called 0157. The boy's mother, Elizabeth Sutton, says they are praying and continuing to watch his progress as he undergoes dialysis for hemolytic uremic syndrome -- which was the official cause of death in Serena.

More from The Stir: Why Buying Organic Can't Save You From E. Coli

Although both families suspect the turkey meat caused their children to contract E. coli, the Oregon Health Department is still investigating. The department says common E. coli 0157 sources include "high-risk foods such as undercooked meat, unpasteurized milk or juices, restaurants at which [people with E. coli] have eaten, exposure to live animals, recreational water, and exposure to child care centers."

Our hearts go out to both families and we are keeping little Brad in our thoughts.

Do you ever fear your children will be exposed to E. coli? Do you do anything to help prevent this from happening?

 

Image © iStock.com/ borzwoj

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