My phone rang last week sometime after this likely award-winning article was published:
The Star found that Robert Danell, a 62-year-old man with Down syndrome, died after he and one other person at a group home in Sauk Rapids, Minn., fell ill as part of the same E. coli outbreak that made Lamkin sick.
Health officials were never able to pin down whether Danell or the other victim at the group home ate mechanically tenderized steak, contaminated hamburger also found in the same outbreak, or instead were exposed to the feces of those who did.
Danell was hospitalized on Jan. 9, 2010, suffering from bloody diarrhea. He died 10 days later.
Today, Danell’s brother, Bill, can only wonder why the E. coli contamination couldn’t have been prevented.
“They figured out it was E. coli, and by that time there was no way to treat it, and that pushed him into his early death,” said Bill Danell, whose family didn’t take legal action.
Even though his brother lived much longer with Down syndrome than anyone predicted, his death was unexpected. Now all his family is left with are memories.
“Sometimes he would take the bus downtown, transfer to another bus and go to the Army recruiting station and try to join up. He did that every day for a while,” Bill Danell said.
See the full story in Mike McGraw’s “Beefs Rough Edges.”