The Food Safety Bill is being debated on Capitol Hill as I write this post.  Hopefully the human cost of foodborne illness will weigh on our Representatives’ minds as they vote.  The folks below have been involved.  They have visited Washington DC, met with members and have testified.

Lindsey Jennings (below, center) was a healthy 21-year-old starting medical school in the fall of 2008. After eating lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, she was hospitalized for 11 days. Her medical bills to date total $55,444.49.

In 2006, Ashley Armstrong (below), age 2, became infected with E. coli O157:H7 after eating Dole brand baby spinach. She was hospitalized for 43 days with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). She suffered acute renal failure and pancreatitis and was on dialysis for nearly 4 months. She has a 95 to 100 percent chance of end stage renal disease, and is expected to require a kidney transplant within three to ten years. Ashley will require a combination of kidney dialysis and transplants throughout the rest of her life. Ashley’s medical bills during her acute illness exceeded $200,000, and the value of her projected future medical expenses and future economic losses total between $6 and $7.5 million.

Heather Whybrew (below, in cap and gown) is a 20-year-old college student pursuing a double major in biology and psychology. In 2008, she was hospitalized for 18 days after consuming romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Her medical bills to date are $113.959.04.

Mora Lou Marshall (below) was functionally independent before her Salmonella Tennessee illness, which she contracted as a result of eating Con Agra’s Peter Pan Peanut Butter. As a result of her illness, Mora was hospitalized for more than 30 days at Willis-Knighton Medical Center and Life-Care Hospital. Furthermore, to date, Mora has never able to return home to her family. Since her multiple hospitalizations and illness, Mora Lou Marshall has lived at the Garden Park Nursing Home in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her medical expenses currently total $352,960.

Clifford Tousignant (below, with granddaughter) was a highly decorated Korean War veteran. He received 3 purple hearts and faithfully served his country for over 22 years. Mr. Tousignant became sick with Salmonella Typhimurium in December of 2008, as a result of eating peanut butter products manufactured by King Nut and the Peanut Corporation of America. Mr. Tousignant was hospitalized because of his infection and illness for 6 days at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd, Minnesota. As a result of his illness, Mr. Tousignant died on January 12, 2009. His medical expenses totaled $42,853.