E. coli is being blamed in the death of a 4-year-old Oregon girl. On August 30, Serena Profitt shared a turkey sandwich with a 5-year-old friend. Within hours, both children experienced intense gastrointestinal distress. Nine days later, Serena was dead. Five-year-old Brad Sutton remains in critical condition.
As reported by The News Guard, the families were celebrating Labor Day at the Roadhouse 18 Bar and Grill in Otis. Aleasha Hargitt-Profitt said Serena and Brad shared a turkey sandwich. Although the turkey was not confirmed as the source of the E. coli, Hargitt-Profitt said the sandwich was the only thing both children consumed.
A spokesperson for Roadhouse 18 Bar and Grill confirmed health inspectors are investigating the family’s claim.
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Tamara Hargens-Bradley confirmed “Serena tested positive for E. coli.” However, the specific strain is unknown. Hargens-Bradley said samples were sent to a state lab for further evaluation.
Hargitt-Profitt took her daughter to the emergency room on September 1. However, Serena was sent home without a specific diagnosis. Less than one week later, the 4-year-old girl went into shock.
Serena was rushed to a different hospital, where she was diagnosed with total kidney failure. As they suspected an E. coli infection, the doctors ordered a battery of tests. The results were positive for the deadly bacteria.
Although doctors confirmed the diagnosis, it was simply too late. On Monday, Serena Profitt suffered a stroke and a massive seizure. However, the official cause of death is listed as hemolytic uremic syndrome — which is “a common complication of E. coli.”
Hargitt-Profitt hopes officials identify the source of the E. coli before it causes another death. Oregon officials are currently working together to identify the strain and confirm where the children contracted the bacteria.
As reported by ABC News, 5-year-old Brad Sutton was also diagnosed with kidney failure. He is currently listed in critical condition at a hospital in Tacoma, Washington. Sutton’s strain of E. coli was identified as 0157, which is specifically “rare and fast-acting.”
Tim Prudhel, a spokesman with the Lincoln County Health and Human Services, issued an official statement about their investigation.
“At this time the Lincoln County Health and Human Services… are continuing to investigate this unconfirmed E.coli case. The investigation includes teams of communicable disease and environmental health professionals from the Lincoln County Health and Human Services Department… and consultation from the Oregon Health authority.”
At this time, no further suspected E. coli deaths have been reported in Oregon. However, health officials want to confirm it was an isolated incident.