In the morning Secretary Hagen will cap a half a decade of her work to move E. coli O26, O45, O111, O121, O145, and O103 to the same adulterant status as E. coli O157:H7 when she and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack step to the microphone. And, for those who do not think this is both necessary and important, read the below.
Madeline Drexler of Good Housekeeping penned in “Why Your Food Isn’t Safe” this description of an E. coli O111 death:
At the hospital, lab results from the end of the previous week finally came through, and the Boners learned what was actually making Kayla so sick: an E. coli infection that had led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This devastating complication occurs when E. coli bacteria from contaminated food lodge in the digestive tract and churn out toxins that go on to shred red blood cells, clogging tiny blood vessels in the kidneys. Sick as she was, Kayla still worried about her mother. “She told me she was sorry,” says Dana, who tried to reassure her daughter. “I said, ‘Honey, it’s OK. This is what mommies do.’ “
Nothing seemed to help. Late Tuesday night, Kayla started dialysis. But by Wednesday, she was lethargic and confused, and then she had a seizure and had to be put on a ventilator. On Friday, November 2, she developed a racing heart and soaring blood pressure and had a series of small strokes that left her brain-dead. “Then we had to make the hardest decision of our lives,” says Dana. “We had to let our little girl go.”
With the life support disconnected, surrounded by everyone she loved–her parents; her sister, Kristin; her boyfriend and his parents; her aunt; her grandparents; and her minister, reading a prayer — Kayla died at 10 o’clock in the morning. “I had a very healthy child,” says Dana Boner. “Ten days later, she was gone.”
Eve Conant of the Daily Beast in “America’s Dangerous Food-Safety System” described an E. coli O111 illness in a child:
Ten-year-old Shiloh Johnson lay in a hospital bed for 43 days as medical tubes protruding from her chest slowly drained suffocating fluid from her heart and lungs. Each day brought a new challenge, many of them life-threatening.
Her veins went flat, requiring nurses to insert an IV. Her kidneys went into failure, requiring dialysis. She suffered cardiac arrest and had to be revived. For three weeks she slipped into a coma, unaware that her mother was sitting alongside her day and night, in utter disbelief that a simple trip through a restaurant buffet line could wreak such havoc on her healthy, vibrant child.
Dr. Hagen, on behalf of the Bonners and the Johnsons, thank you. Dr. Hagen, on behalf of families who in the future do not suffer these fates, thank you even more.