In his recent article “E. coli Strikes Like Lightning,” Todd C. Frankel of the Post-Dispatch recently reported on several of the e. coli victims who ate at Habaneros at the St. Clair Square mall.
Frankel reported on Stan Pawlow (age 7) who spent six days in the hospital and still asks if his food is tainted, Kate Reed (age 24) who was hospitalized with what she referred to as the worst pain in her life, Brett Hellinga (age 29) and Jamie Eastwood (age 25) whose severe symptoms forced them both to go to the emergency room, and Patty Timko (age 20) who suffered kidney failure and severe seizures when the e. coli poisoning traveled to her bloodstream.
From Frankel’s Post-Dispatch article:
Her back arched off the hospital bed. Her jaw slammed shut. Her face, covered with light freckles around the nose, turned deathly blue.
A seizure gripped Patty Timko.
This seizure was unlike the others in recent days, when she went rigid, as if holding herself back from flying out of bed. This one was worse, her family said later. And it wasn’t letting go.
Her father struggled to hold on to Timko’s right leg. Her mother grabbed her daughter’s left hand. She wanted to sing to her, to calm her. Phyllis Timko is a music teacher, and the earlier seizures were made somehow easier by songs like “All Night, All Day, Angels Watching Over Me” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” But all she could do now was urge her daughter to breathe.
E. coli 0157:H7 is a sickness with no cure.
“I’d rather roll the dice with salmonella or campylobacter than E. coli 0157:H7,” said Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in litigation tied to food-borne illness.
Each year, the E. coli strain leads to 73,000 cases, 2,100 hospitalizations and about 60 deaths. It causes severe bloody diarrhea and intense abdominal cramping; some female victims compare the pain to childbirth. In the worst cases, the toxins spill from the intestines into the bloodstream, causing hemolytic uremic syndrome. That was what hit Patty Timko so hard.
It is a sickness with no cure. Antibiotics are useless. Doctors are left only to wait for the pathogen to run its course.