I got a phone call from Paul Schwarz’s son this tonight. His father, Paul Sr. died this evening. He became yet another statistic in this cantaloupe listeria tragedy. Paul left behind his wife, children and grandchildren – all because he ate a cantaloupe.
As I wrote before, on October 31, Alan Bavley of the Kansas City Star did a great job putting a human face on a now nationwide listeria cantaloupe outbreak that had at the time sickened 133 while killing 28. That toll raised to 146 sickened with 30 deaths and 1 miscarriage. His story – “Listeria traced to cantaloupe hits home for one KC family,” ran on the 31st. Here is a part about Paul Schwarz:
Paul Schwarz used to eat a lot of cantaloupe, but not anymore.
At least some of the melons Schwarz enjoyed for breakfast this summer came from Jensen Farms, the Colorado grower whose cantaloupe contaminated with listeria bacteria have been responsible for the nation’s deadliest food-borne disease outbreak in 26 years.
The 92-year-old Kansas City man was knocked off his feet by a listeria infection called listeriosis and spent five weeks in the hospital. Now he’s recovering in a nursing home. And he’s become the first area resident with listeriosis to sue Jensen Farms. The suit has been filed in federal court.
“It’s just like he has brain trauma,” said his son, also Paul Schwarz. “His speech, enunciating is difficult. He’s bed- and wheelchair-bound. He needed to have his food cut into small pieces.”
He ate a cantaloupe and now he is dead.