Canadian girl survives life-threatening E. coli

A Medicine Hat family was vacationing in British Columbia last month when their 10-year-old daughter became ill.

ella.kettlesHer mom Angela took her to hospital where a stool sample was taken and for the next few days they waited. Angela Kettles says, “the day before we were supposed to go back to Medicine Hat, we got a phone call from the doctor at Invermere Hospital confirming what Ella had was E. coli poisoning.

When the Kettles to returned to Medicine Hat, Angela took her daughter to see the doctor as a precaution. The physician told Angela the strain Ella was suffering from was the life-threatening and could lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome that occurs in about 10% of those infected with E. coli.

With Ella’s potassium levels skyrocketing, doctors became concerned about her heart. When she heard the news Angela said, “I was scared, we were all scared.”

Ella was immediately airlifted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary for emergency surgery. Ella says, “I was scared when the told me I was going to go to Calgary.”

Ella was anemic and her kidneys began to shut down from the deadly toxins. Her blood platelets, which are required for normal blood clotting, fell and became trapped in the tiny blood clots. Ella was forced to endure painful dialysis every hour for 2 days. Her family wasn’t sure she would survive.

Angela and her husband spent 2 agonizing weeks at Ella’s bedside. “She was in so much pain, as a parent it was just awful to sit there and see her go through this.”

To the Kettles’ relief, Ella began to recover. Two weeks ago she was discharged from hospital and came back home to Medicine Hat to resume her life.

No one is sure how she came in contact with E. coli.