Health Team

Son's Death Prompts Woman to Track Food-Borne Illnesses

Posted March 10, 2008

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— College student Alyssa Chrobuck says she is fortunate to be alive. At age 5, she ate a hamburger contaminated with with E. coli bacteria. Soon after, she was hospitalized and her organs were shutting down.

Chrobuck beat the bug, but she is still suffering the after-effects.

Every year, about 325,000 people are hospitalized due to food-borne illnesses, such as E. coli. Most people recover completely from the acute problems, but there is no record of how many go on to have long-lasting health problems.

Nancy Donley said she plans to change that. She lost her son Alex to E. coli 15 years ago. Now, she the leads a group called S.T.O.P., or Safe Tables Our Priority.

“There are many people who have had long-term kidney problems, diabetes, pancreatic problems (and) vision problems,” Donley said.

Her group started a national registry to discover the extent of the problems.

Chrobuck said she had several doctors tell her she was “going to die.” Fifteen years later, she takes eight medications for a list of illnesses from gall stones to high cholesterol. There is also a red mark on her neck.

“I had to get half my thyroid removed last year because I had thyroid nodules pressing on my voice box,” she said.

"These long-term complications are life-threatening,” Donley said. “They're life-altering and need to be taken very, very seriously.”

S.T.O.P. will share its findings with government researchers in hopes of understanding cases like Chrobuck’s and how they can be avoided.

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  • CestLaVie Mar 11, 2008

    This is probably a great idea, as a way of policing problems for ourselves instead of assuming government will do it for us. It's been obvious for a long, long time that that is NOT happening; government is failing us, in general. Not to mention the fact that millions EXPECT government to take care of us in the first place. The executive and legislative branches have been far more interested in promoting and/or protecting their own behinds than doing what is right & best for the citizens they represent. Monied & lobbying interests prevail. When will this end?? Maybe when we stop electing so many lawyers to political positions!!

    I've stopped eating meat (all the garbage pumped into & fed to animals to fatten them, keep them healthy), poultry (same issues), and seafood (all the garbage dumped into our rivers, oceans to pollute them & make them filthy - come on, people!!!).

    Be proactive, like this lady is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!