I'm going to be weighing in with my own thoughts on this subject next. Meanwhile, I want to share this article written by my brother-in-law, Kevin. Interstingly enough, what he wrote could also be used to point a finger at the meat producing/processing systems in this country. I guarantee you that Kevin, and my sister, and their kids are now eating family farm raised beef, or no beef at all:
This coming week will be one year since we almost lost our daughter, Milla, to E. Coli.
June 26th 2008 I purchased ground beef from Kroger. July 10th 2008 we found out that there was a beef recall because of E. Coli on the beef I bought. Of course we had already eaten this beef.
July 12th 2008, Milla woke up sick, fever of 103 and above, and diarrhea. After a couple hours and a half dozen diaper changes we called the pediatrician’s office. I talked to a nurse and told her what the symptoms were. I also told her about the recalled beef. She told me it wasn’t E. Coli but a virus going around.
July 13th 2008, more of the same.
July 14th 2008, more of the same and Milla stops eating and drinking. We called the pediatricians office to make an appointment. I talked to another nurse. I told her all of the symptoms, how long it had been going on and I told her about the beef with E. Coli. Once again I was told it was not E. Coli and just a virus. No appointment made.
July 15th 2008, Milla is really sick. Diarrhea and throwing up. I called the pediatrician’s office again. I told this nurse the exact same thing, including about the E. Coli. She told me the same thing as the other two nurses. I told her I wanted Milla to be seen by a pediatrician today. She said “If you really want to.”
We saw a familiar Pediatrician. Told her everything and yes about the beef. She said no it’s not E. Coli. It’s a virus going around. She did not do even one test and sent us home.
This same pediatrician saw Milla the year before for a fever and a runny nose. She ordered every test there possibly could be. I know this to be true because I have Milla’s medical records. There are three pages of tests from that visit.
(side note: The company I worked for went out of business in January ‘08. Along with losing my job, I lost my health insurance on the family. After a few months of looking for a job without luck, Rebecca and I decided to get Milla a medical card through the state)
Lesson learned. As long as you have medical insurance and not a state medical card you will get decent medical care, and the physician will treat and look at you like a human being.
July 16th 2008, Milla is really sick. She hasn’t had anything to eat or drink in two days. I called again and told the nurse the same things. Got an appointment. Different pediatrician. We told him everything…the same thing. Once again, not E. Coli, but a virus. I asked him when we should start getting concerned about Milla not eating. He said in a condescending tone, “Last Thursday. Come on, do you feel like eating when you sick?” Then he gave Milla a lollipop. She held it to her nose and smelled it. He said, “Oh she’s fine. If she hadn’t done that I’d be worried. So she’s not that dehydrated. She’s fine. Just give her fluids.” We said, “She’s not eating or drinking and when she has tried to drink she has thrown it up.”
“Well, if she throws it up, wait two hours and try again.” he says as he’s walking out of the room.
Visit done…no tests…but at least Milla got a lollipop she wasn’t going to eat.
July 17th 2008, Milla can’t move. She’s not sleeping well. She can’t walk, she is so weak. We called back to the pediatrician’s office. I tell her (the nurse) everything we’ve been going through…and the E. Coli. I told her I wanted a straight answer about when we should be getting concerned about Milla not eating. Because everyone has told us not to be concerned because she just doesn’t feel well. She told me if Milla didn’t eat breakfast in the morning to call back.
That morning didn’t happen like that. We took Milla to the ER at St. Joseph East that evening. Where Dr. Anderson took us seriously and listened. He started the tests. He came back and told us Milla was severely dehydrated and she had kidney failure as a result of HUS (Hemolytic-uremic syndrome), a strand of E. Coli. He transferred Milla to UK Hospital. Milla went right to PICU (pediatric intensive care unit). Within minutes of Rebecca and I arriving at the hospital a DR. comes out to talk to us. We were informed that Milla would not have lived through the night. Her kidneys were not the only organs failing. Her liver, spleen and pancreas were all starting to shut down. She went into surgery the next morning to have a catheter put in for kidney dialysis. She wasn’t conscious for several days. When she woke up they had to strap her arms down so she wouldn’t yank the IV’s out of her. Seeing my 19 month old daughter lying there with all of this happening…I was angry. How could this happen? Letting a baby suffer because her parents had the damn poor man’s insurance.
Milla was on dialysis for 8 days and was recovering nicely. She was finally moved from picu to a regular room at 10 days. August 1st we got to take her home.
Milla is doing great. The only way you know she was ever sick are from the scars on her belly, from the surgery and the scar on her neck, where she had an IV put in.
I would like to thank everyone who helped us through last summer.
Also, thanks to Dr. Anderson at St. Joseph East
Thanks to UK hospital, Dr. Bernard and Dr. Chisti and all the nurses in picu, Ashley, Tara and many more. Thank you!
For more information on E. Coli http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/stec_gi.html
For more information on HUS http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000510.htm
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