Local Death May Be Due To Salmonella Outbreak
Source of Article: http://www.tricities.com/tri/news/local/article/local_death_may_be_due_to_salmonella_outbreak/19632/
By Michael Owens
The Virginia Department of Health refuses to confirm her death as part of
the national outbreak that has killed eight people, stating only that
Hester C. Fields, 78, of
Fields’ daughter, Gloria “Jeannie” Fields, believes her mother is a victim of the national crisis.
The mother and daughter had lived together. But, when Jeannie Fields needed multiple eye surgeries late last year, she thought her mother could best be cared for in a nursing home. The mother was supposed to reside at the short-term, rehabilitation-based nursing home for a month, returning home when the daughter fully recovered.
“[Mom] was doing her therapy, she was walking real good, and all of the sudden she was going downhill,” Jeannie Fields said.
Doctors initially suspected Hester Fields suffered from pneumonia, medical records indicate. Jeannie Fields said nursing home staff also warned that her mother’s illness might be part of a bug spreading through the nursing home.
“They asked me to leave the nursing home because mother had a stomach virus,” Jeannie Fields said. “They said they had five patients that [were sick] with it.”
Nursing home Administrator Vickie Cox refused to comment Friday.
On Nov. 23, Hester Fields was rushed to
While at the hospital, blood tests were taken. Hester Fields was returned to the nursing home that same day and died a day later.
“These guys didn’t even think it was salmonella,” said Bristol, Tenn.,-based lawyer Parke Morris, who is representing Jeannie Fields.
“It didn’t even occur to them,” Morris said.
Abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever are the main symptoms of salmonella poisoning, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Salmonella typhimurium is most toxic with infants, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that
501 people have fallen ill to the salmonella outbreak – 20 in Virginia and 11
in Tennessee. The federal agency said two people have died in
On Nov. 26, two days after Hester Fields died, culture tests revealed that salmonella had tainted her blood. Four days later, the Virginia Department of Health telephoned her daughter with the news that salmonella had been found. And on Jan. 9, the cultures from Field’s blood revealed that the salmonella was from the deadly typhimurium strain, medical records indicate.
Officials have not confirmed whether the salmonella that killed Fields is the same strain as in the peanut butter case.
Her death posed a statistical dilemma for doctors when it came to listing
the location of her case, said Dr. Gary Mayes, head of the
“I remember the case ... and we had to figure out whether it counted in
Jeanie Fields suspects that her mother contracted salmonella from the peanut butter crackers – also called nabs – she said the nursing home staff provided to patients.
“I went to a machine once, and a nurse said you don’t have to buy them, we give them to [patients],” Jeannie Fields said.
My mother “loved peanut butter nabs,” the daughter said.
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