Four year old Otis girl dies of E coli poisoning – parents suspects she got it at an Otis area restaurant
Four year old Serena Profitt of Otis was about to turn five. She was a sweet, smiley little girl who did not live to see her fifth birthday. Serena died of E coli poisoning at a Portland hospital from what her family suspects was a contaminated turkey sandwich she shared with a five year old friend at an Otis area restaurant. As it turned out, her friend is fighting for his life at a hospital in suburban Seattle – E coli poisoning.
According to medical sources,
E coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, where it usually causes no harm. Some strains can cause severe food poisoning, especially in older people and children.
A family friend told News Lincoln County that Serena and the boy’s families went to lunch together at the restaurant (not the Otis Cafe) on Saturday, August 30th. Both being little kids, they split a big turkey sandwich. Both families said that’s the only exact thing they did together that week.
However, KGW News Channel 8 reports that Serena and her male friend both swam in a pond together. Ponds are chronic sources of E coli bacteria along the coast. It’s not been reported whether other children or adults also swam in the pond.
The family friend said Serena grew ill Sunday, August 31st. She complained of stomach pain.
When Serene didn’t get better they took her to the emergency room at North Lincoln Hospital. The friend said Serena was diagnosed as having a rotavirus, which is a common lower intestinal condition among younger children. The hospital took a stool sample for testing and then sent her home to await the results of the stool sample.
When Serena still didn’t get better her parents took her to a pediatrician in Lincoln City. The doctor diagnosed her as having a rotavirus and told her parents that she should drink lots of liquids and then sent her home.
The next day the pediatrician told her parents that the stool tests came back negative. Nothing seriously wrong.
Her parents grew desperate. They drove her up Highway 18 to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville. In the emergency room tests determined that Serena’s kidneys were in full failure. An ambulance rushed her to Doernbecher’s Children’s hospital in Portland.
By then it was Saturday, September 6th, a full week after eating the turkey sandwich which her parents suspect was the source of the E coli.
Doernbecher doctors put Serena on a port for full blood dialysis. By Sunday it appeared that the dialysis was working. Serena sat up in bed and said “Hi mommy, hi daddy,” and her skin color was coming back to normal. But that afternoon Serena suddenly suffered a stroke.
Doctors put Serena back on dialysis. Doctors also determined that the E coli was attacking Serena’s kidneys, pancreas and her brain. Suddenly a second stroke. Later a massive seizure. Then no brain activity.
Serena’s parents realized the obvious. They summoned all family members to Serena’s bedside to say goodbye. Mom and dad were the last to be with her moments before she died.
Serena’s family is devastated. And they’re faced not only with the loss of their beloved daughter Serena, they now face huge medical expenses and the cost of her funeral. Friends and family have set up a fundraiser website at GoFundMe.com. If you’d like to donate to Serena’s family in the most difficult time any family could ever face, click here.
Meanwhile the Lincoln County Health Department has launched an investigation into the death of little Serena and the possible source of her exposure to E coli. In a statement late this afternoon they said –
“The routine response of public health officials to such reports is to interview patients, family members and close contacts of cases to ascertain potential sources of exposure to illness-causing bacteria and to investigate and control any sources of potential outbreaks.”