National News

Lawsuit: First Watch filled pregnant woman's to-go cup with degreaser instead of green tea

Posted June 13, 2018 7:10 p.m. EDT

— A Florence couple is suing First Watch claiming a restaurant employee gave the then-pregnant wife a to-go cup filled with degreaser instead of the green tea she ordered.

"Luckily, I had a healthy baby, but even now we don't know," Traci Hall said Wednesday while watching her 9-month-old son Cole. "There's no one that could tell us what this could do long-term."

Hall was six months pregnant when she left the First Watch at 7727 Mall Road, walked into the parking lot and took a gulp from the lidded cup.

"I took a big drink of it and immediately my esophagus, my throat, my mouth was burning," she said.

Here's what happened after that, according to the lawsuit:

Hall immediately went inside and asked her server what was in the cup.

The server found the busboy who filled it and asked where he got it.

The three of them walked into the kitchen and the busboy pointed to the spigot on the wall next to the drink refill station.

Another server saw the busboy point at the spigot and said, "That's degreaser."

At that point, Hall was "shaking and panicked."

A call to poison control and trips to two different hospitals later, and still no one knew what impact it would have on her unborn baby.

"The rest of my pregnancy, instead of being so excited and joyful, it kind of robbed us," Hall said. "This is our first baby, you know, so we wanted it to be such a joyful time, and I spent the rest of the time in panic mode."

The degreaser, called Greasestrip Plus, consists of sodium hydroxide, a "toxic commercial cleaning product," the lawsuit says. Sodium hydroxide can be corrosive and deadly.

The safety data sheet published by the maker, EcoLab, does not indicate if Greasestrip Plus is dangerous to unborn babies when swallowed by the mother.