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Kenosha woman sues after E. coli infection lands her in ICU

Posted at 7:13 PM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 20:13:51-05

KENOSHA — A Kenosha woman is suing Pick 'n Save after she says an E. coli infection that's sickening dozens of people across the country put her in intensive care.

A lawsuit filed in Milwaukee County on Thursday alleges 32-year-old Kateryna Sylaska contracted E. coli O157:H7 from "a contaminated pre-packaged salad product produced and sold by Defendant Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc." The lawsuit goes on to say the infection "developed into full-blown hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), requiring hospitalization and dialysis. She will face a lifetime of diminished kidney function and related illness."

"This is a permanent injury," said Sylaska's attorney Ryan Osterholm, who is based in Minneapolis. "This is not something that is just going to go away."

The lawsuit states Sylaska, "routinely purchased and consumed bagged salad products sold at Defendant Roundy's Pick 'n Save grocery stores, including those containing romaine lettuce."

Sylaska and her attorney say they believe she bought the product that made her sick at the Pick 'n Save on 18th Street in Kenosha.

Sylaska is a psychology professor at Carthage College. The lawsuit states she first became violently sick on November 11 and spent nine days in ICU. She said doctors told her she might not make it.

"It's hard," Osterholm said. "It's hard to be in the hospital alone on Thanksgiving with kidney failure."

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Nov. 15 it was investigating a "significant increase" in E. coli cases across the state. As of Dec. 4, the agency says it's investigating 31 cases linked to the outbreak, and of those 13 have been hospitalized and two have developed HUS.

The lawsuit alleges Sylaska's illness is linked to a nationwide outbreak that the CDC reports have sickened 102 people in 23 states as of Dec. 4. The CDC is still warning consumers not to eat romaine lettuce from Salinas, California.

Osterholm said Sylaska is making progress.

"She's tremendously optimistic, really a very, very strong woman and is going to keep fighting every day," Osterholm said.

A spokesperson for Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc., the parent company of Pick N' Save, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.