Tennessee siblings Genevieve and Anthony Schiding, ages 18 months and 3 years, are home with their parents after a horrifying odyssey that began with a drink of raw milk. The Schiding siblings, who are part of a raw milk E. coli outbreak linked to French Broad Farm in Mascot, TN, spent two weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. They nearly died from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a complication of E. coli infections that can cause kidney failure, seizure, stroke, coma and death.
Children, particularly those under five, are at the highest risk of developing HUS, a complication that develops in 5 percent to 10 percent of E. coli patients. Others at elevated risk for HUS are seniors and those with compromised immune systems. HUS causes blood vessels to become swollen or damaged and clots form blocking the filtering system of the kidneys.
HUS treatments include dialysis, blood transfusions and plasma therapy. The Schiding children underwent dialysis. Anthony for three days, little Genevieve for seven. Their terrified parents, Jordan and Stephanie Schiding, watched as their children battled a condition that threatened to take their lives.
“At that point, I realized how serious it was and that we could lose not only one but both of our kids at the same time and I just broke down,” Jordan Schiding told Knoxnews.com. The Schidings had no idea of the health risks raw milk poses, they thought they were providing their children with a healthy option.
“One of the troubling issues about raw milk is that consumers are not adequately warned about the risks. I represent people sickened by raw milk due to contamination with E. coli O157:H7 and other dangerous pathogens,” said Fred Pritzker, founding partner of the national food safety law firm Pritzker Hageman.
“Raw milk can cause kidney failure, paralysis, and death. I know because I have stood by the bedsides of people who innocently drank raw milk and ended up hooked up to life support machines, fighting for their lives”
A total of seven children who drank raw milk from French Broad farm developed E. coli infections. Four of them developed HUS and were hospitalized at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital where two of them still remain.
E. coli symptoms, which include diarrhea and abdominal cramps, usually develop within three days of exposure and last about a week. Over-the-counter medicine for diarrhea should not be given to E. coli patients as it can increase the risk of developing HUS.
Symptoms of HUS usually appear one week after initial E. coli symptoms. When they do, it is imperative to seek immediate, emergency medical care as HUS can be fatal. HUS symptoms include:
- Decreased urination
- Pale skin
- Unexplained weakness
- Unexplained bruises or bleeding
Attorney Fred Pritzker Scheduled to Debate Raw Milk at Harvard
Raw Milk Bill: E. coli Lawyers Warn of HUS and TTP Risk
$7.55 Million Verdict for Child Who Contracted E. coli-HUS
American Academy of Pediatrics Advises Pregnant Women and Children Not to Consume Raw Milk Products