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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Dole Spinach E. coli victim speaks out.

Blood donations save Lexington County woman’s life

Kara Gormley reported how Blood donations saved Erica Sturkie’s life:

She almost lost her life after eating a leafy vegetable. Now a young Lexington County woman is speaking about her distressing experience, and the generous acts that saved her life.

Erica Sturkie is about to embark on her senior year at Columbia College. Almost exactly a year ago there was a point where she wondered if she’d live to see her 21st birthday. “I was a healthy 20-year-old. Then, all of the sudden, you know, I was knocking on death’s door.”

Erica wound up in the hospital. Her classmates sent her well wishes after doctors diagnosed her with rare type of E. coli. “They were trying to figure out where it came from, nothing was checking out, then all of the sudden the story broke.”

She remembers, “It was like a light. I was like, oh my gosh, this was me. This is what happened to me.”

Erica says her blood tests revealed her E. coli spawned from bagged spinach. The spinach was part of a nationwide recall.

But finding out where she got the E. coli was only part of the battle. Erica says she underwent days of blood and plasma transfusions. Without them, she was given a three percent chance of survival.

She says without the blood, “I probably would not be here right now. A three percent chance of survival is not much. I definitely would not be here.”

According to the American Red Cross, when someone donates whole blood, the Red Cross is able to obtain one unit of plasma per donor. Erica says, “If that is true, it took approximately 100 people to walk through the door to save my life.”

She says she will never take that gift for granted. “It really makes me thankful for everyday that I have, and just, you know, taking care of myself.”