Oregon girl dies from E.coli complications

Serena Profitt, 4, sickened and died after becoming infected with E.coli.

By Gabrielle Levy
Serena Profitt, 4, died on Sept. 8, 2014, from complications of E.Coli. (Family photo)
Serena Profitt, 4, died on Sept. 8, 2014, from complications of E.Coli. (Family photo)

LINCOLN CITY, Ore., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A 4-year-old Oregon girl and her friend shared a turkey sandwich over Labor Day weekend, and now she is dead and her friend on dialysis.

Serena Profitt of Otis, Ore., died Monday of complications from E.Coli, and her friend, Brad Sutton, 5, is still in critical condition.


The children shared their snack at a restaurant on August 30, a Saturday, and while it's not clear the sandwich carried the deadly bacteria, both children began exhibiting symptoms within two days.

Serena began to have stomach pain on Sunday night, and by Monday, they both had diarrhea. By Wednesday, Serena wasn't eating and her stools were bloody, according to her aunt, Aleasha Hargitt-Profitt.

RELATED Jordan Belfort, real 'wolf of Wall Street' says he's redeemed himself

She said Serena made two trips to the hospital, and was twice sent home without being tested for E.coli.

By Saturday morning, Serena's body began to go into shock. Her parents took her to a different hospital, where doctors found she had gone into kidney failure, put her on dialysis and ordered an E.coli test.


"Sunday morning, she woke up and had great color and was able to sit up in bed for the first time," Hargitt-Profitt said. "She was able to talk to her mom and dad and tell them she loved them."

RELATED Ted Cruz booed off stage over Israel comments [WATCH]

But that afternoon, Serena had a stroke, and at 2 a.m., she had a massive seizure.

Doctors found her brain was "covered in blood," Hargitt-Profitt said. They operated to try to relieve pressure on her brain, but determined she was brain dead at noon.

Officials at Doernbecher Children's Hospital said Serena died of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a common symptom of E.coli, which destroys red blood cells and clogs the blood filtering in the kidneys.

RELATED Mary Landrieu picks up endorsements, Cassidy agrees to 2 debates

"Serena tested positive for E.coli, but we don't yet know which strain," hospital spokeswoman Tamara Hargens-Bradley said. "A sample has been sent to the state lab for further testing."

Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer representing the Profitts, said the other child, Brad, is also suffering from "acute kidney failure."

Officials at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Wash., said Brad was diagnosed with the fast-acting E.coli strain O157:H7.

RELATED Michael Moore: Obama will only be remembered as first black president

Health officials said they swabbed surfaces at the restaurant where Brad and Serena shared their sandwich, and took samples, but found no red flags.


"We haven't linked anything to the restaurant," said Dr. David Long, a health officer for Lincoln County, at a press conference Thursday. "We haven't ruled it in and we haven't ruled it out."

Long said the children had swam together at a pond over Labor Day weekend, along with other people, but no other illnesses have been reported. Long said the water had not been tested.

RELATED Michael Brown protesters try to shut down I-70

Certain uncooked or undercooked foods, and animals such as sheep, cows, and goats have been associated with E.coli outbreaks, according to Contaminated water, for drinking or swimming, or the feces of infected people can also cause outbreaks.

The Profitt family has a goat, chickens and dogs, and while the virus is not associated with O157:H7, raw goat's milk has caused outbreaks.

Of the 103 people sickened by E.coli O157:H7 in Oregon, said Dr. Paul Cieslak, head of infectious diseases at Oregon Public Health Division, Serena is the only death.

Latest Headlines