The law firm of Pritzker Hageman has filed the first Arizona lawsuit in the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter E. coli O157:H7 – hemolytic uremic syndrome outbreak on behalf of a child. The lawsuit was filed on March 23, 2017 (Case : 1:17-cv-02233) in the United District Court Northern District of Illinois.
The client in this case, minor child M.R., contracted a nearly-fatal E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating contaminated soy nut butter manufactured and sold by The SoyNut Butter Company. That infection developed into the complication hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which destroys the kidneys and can cause serious injury.
The lawsuit alleges that the child, who attends a day care facility in Flagstaff, Arizona, consumed some of the SoyNut Butter in early January. On or about January 16, 2016, M.R. developed intense stomach pain followed by profuse and bloody diarrhea. His parents took him to an emergency room in Flagstaff, where he was admitted to the hospital.
The child was diagnosed with an E. coli O157:H7 infection. A stool sample was sent to the Arizona Department of Health for testing, which revealed that the bacteria that made him sick is a genetic match to the outbreak strain.
M.R. then developed signs of HUS and was transferred to Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the intensive care unit in critical condition. His kidney function declined. Doctors placed him on dialysis and his kidney function improved. He was left with permanent kidney damage.
“No child should suffer this illness, and no parents should be devastated with worry, simply because a ready to eat product was contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Our hearts go out to all children and parents involved in this horrific food poisoning outbreak,” said Brendan Flaherty, one of the lawyers representing M.R. and his parents.
These SoyNut Butter products are actively marketed to children and others with nut allergies, so are frequently used by daycares, schools, and other facilities that serve food to children. But because these products are served as institutional food service products, consumers may not be aware their children were consuming a product produced by The SoyNut Butter Company.
Anyone who contracts a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection can become seriously ill, but children under the age of 5 are more likely to develop HUS and lose kidney function. These children may require years of dialysis, and some must undergo a kidney transplant.
The state laboratories of Arizona, California, and Oregon have found E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in jars of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. And the CDC has linked this outbreak to the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter product. Twenty-three people in nine states (Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin) are sick in this outbreak. Most of those sickened are children.
If your child consumed any I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter product and has experienced the symptoms of an E. coli infection or HUS, contract your doctor. The symptoms of E. coli include severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is usually bloody and/or watery, and a mild fever. Less common symptoms include nausea and diarrhea.
The symptoms of HUS include little urine output, lethargy, easy bruising, bleeding from the nose and mouth, pale skin, and a rash. Any person with these symptoms needs to see a doctor immediately.
Pritzker Hageman law firm helps families of children sickened by contaminated food such as the I.M. Healthy product get answers, compensation for their injuries, and justice. The firm’s lawyers represent patients and families of children sickened with bacterial infections in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against food processors, restaurants, retailers, schools, and others. Attorney Brendan Flaherty, who can be contacted at 1-888-377-8900, was on the Pritzker Hageman team that recently won $7.5 million for a young client who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection. Please know that class action lawsuits may not be appropriate for outbreak victims because these cases are so unique.
If you have a question about this outbreak, HUS, or E. coli food poisoning, leave a comment. We will keep you informed as more news is released.