SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Watching your child get sick may be the hardest part of being a parent.
Taylor Fitzgerald felt helpless as she watched her 6-year-old son come down with a life-threatening illness linked to E.Coli. It’s called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
“It really started destroying his red blood cells and attacking his kidney so he went into acute kidney failure and required four blood transfusions…. You have to sit and wait and hope… flipped our world upside down in every single way,” she said.
She says it all started on April 10, when they went to Papa Murphy’s in Rocklin and took home pizza and a salad, without realizing there was a nationwide E. Coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce.
“A 6-year-old tends not to eat a lot of salad so we knew exactly where he ate the romaine lettuce and we know he’s a genetic match to the outbreak – he’s counted by the CDC,” said Seattle-based attorney Bill Marler who’s representing Fitzgerald and dozens of others sickened by the deadly outbreak in six states.
Marler is suing Papa Murphy’s for unspecified damages, because the real goal he says, is to work his way backward to find out who supplied the restaurants with the lettuce.
“Because until we know what caused the outbreak, were never gonna know what to do to prevent the next one,” he said.
In a statement, the pizza chain said in part, “immediately upon hearing the announcement by the CDC on April 13, and out of an abundance of caution, we directed our system to remove product from our stores and inventory.”
Fitzgerald’s son was already sick.
“I didn’t realize E. Coli was that severe,” she said.
Now she hopes her story will serve as a warning for parents to be careful.
“You think you’re walking into a restaurant and doing a safe thing by feeding your child a salad that can … really end up being life-threatening,” she said.
Doctors say it’ll take months for her son to recover.
But he’ll still need to undergo periodic brain scans to make sure there’s no long-term effect from the infection.
As for the romaine lettuce, the CDC says it’s safe to eat again.