State Representative David Gomberg’s House Bill 3540 got a hearing in the state House Health Care Committee this week which would require physicians to test for e-coli if any child under 18 suffers from prolonged diarrhea.
The committee heard emotional testimony yesterday from the Profitt family of Otis, recounting how, in their opinion, two botched diagnoses of their daughter’s e-coli infection caused her death September 9th of last year – one from North Lincoln Hospital, the other from a Lincoln City physician. When Serena was not getting better, her family rushed her to Willamette Valley Hospital in McMinnville where she was immediately diagnosed with advanced e-coli infection. Serena was rushed to a children’s trauma unit in Portland where she died a short while later.
Serena’s family told the committee what the family went through in their valiant effort to save their daughter and how, in their view, it seemed inconceivable that a hospital and a veteran physician could have missed the tell-tale signs of e-coli poisoning. Serena’s playmate, a young boy from the valley, was immediately properly diagnosed at a hospital in the valley as suffering from e-coli and got immediate medical attention which saved his life.
Gomberg’s HB 3540 got a hearing but the family approached him too late to have it meet the deadline when bills could be introduced this session. There is a chance it could be introduced during next year’s even-year short-session, but it’s not likely. Short sessions pertain mostly to budget adjustments – so it looks like it’ll have its best chance in 2017.
Again, the bill puts a strong protocol emphasis on doctors to be more on the look-out for e-coli when they face a young child suffering from uncontrollable diarrhea. In Serena’s case, both North Lincoln Hospital and the physician wrote her problem off as a stomach disorder typical for her age group. It turned out to be a double death sentence.
Rep. Gomberg’s bill would also include greater focus on e-coli poisoning as part of doctors’ and nurse practitioners’ Continuing Education requirements to keep their medical licenses current.
In the meantime the Profitt family still struggles to pay off a mountainous medical bill which was run up while medical personnel tried to save Serena’s life. The family has a Go Fund Me account set up which still is accepting donations. Donations can be made at Go Fund Me by clicking here.