[IPp] Couple blames E. coli for daughter's illness
Couple blames E. coli for daughter's illness
*BY BETH VELLIQUETTE : The Herald-Sun*
*email @ redacted* <email @ redacted>
*Oct 26, 2006 : 10:35 pm ET*
HILLSBOROUGH -- An Orange County family claims their two-year-old suffered a
life-threatening illness that caused permanent physical damage to her from
E. coli bacteria that she picked up while visiting a petting zoo at the 2004
N.C. State Fair.
Kyle H. Gray and Elizabeth H. Gray of Chapel Hill filed a lawsuit Tuesday in
Orange County Superior Court against the petting zoo's owner , Jason Wilkie
of Chatham County.
As a result of Aiden Gray's exposure to the E. coli bacteria, she "suffered
and will suffer for the rest of her life extreme mental and physical pain
and suffering, has undergone and will undergo medical procedures and has
permanent injuries and disfigurement and the loss of normal use of her
body," the suit states.
"Substantial medical and life care expenses have been incurred and will
continue to be incurred as a result of her injuries," the suit states. "She
also will suffer lost wages as a result of this negligence."
The Grays are suing Wilkie and his fair business, Crossroads Farm Petting
Zoo, saying Aiden became sick after visiting the zoo on Oct. 23, 2004.
On Nov. 4, 2004, Aiden fell ill, and on Nov. 7, her parents took her to UNC
Hospitals, where she was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the
lawsuit states. "While she was hospitalized, her kidneys shut down and she
went into acute renal failure," it states.
The two-year-old spent 36 days in the hospital, including 15 days in the
pediatric intensive care unit, and underwent numerous invasive procedures
and treatments as doctors attempted to save her life, the lawsuit states.
Aiden still suffers from permanent injuries as a result of the E. coli
bacteria, the lawsuit states.
"Her kidneys were permanently damaged, and today they function at about 50
percent level," the lawsuit states.
Her pancreas was scarred, causing it to fail to produce the insulin her body
needs and, as a result, she remains on an insulin pump for diabetes and is
expected to remain diabetic and on insulin for life, the suit states. She
must take daily medication to protect her kidneys.
The lawsuit states that according to studies that the State of North
Carolina conducted after the E. coli outbreak, the State Fair was the source
of 106 cases. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released a
report that said, "Many activities in the Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo were
associated with the illness."
"Among children younger than 3 who visited Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo, case
patients were seven and a half times more likely to have reported contact
with manure," the report stated, according to the lawsuit.
The Grays and Aiden are each asking for compensatory damages in excess of
"In excess of $10,000" is standard language in North Carolina lawsuits and
does not necessarily give an accurate estimate of how much the parties
bringing lawsuits will ask for during a trial.
Rachel - email @ redacted
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