Ohio Restaurant Faces Lawsuit Over Salmonella Death

Following the death of his wife, Zella Ploghoft, 82, Milton Ploghoft is suing the Casa Lopez restaurant of Athens, Ohio. Ploghoft alleges that his wife died as a result of a <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella infection from a meal she ate at Casa Lopez, the Columbus Dispatch wrote.

This is the third lawsuit filed in the Athens County Common Pleas Court against Casa Lopez since the May 2010 Salmonella outbreak there, said the Columbus Dispatch. About 56 people were sickened in the outbreak that the Athens City/County Health Department traced to Casa Lopez.

One of the lawsuits, filed by a Glouster man, has already been settled and another, involving eight plaintiffs, is pending, reported the Columbus Dispatch. About five other potential claims were also settled before reaching court.

According to this lawsuit, Mrs. Ploghoft dined with her son and husband at Casa Lopez on April 30, 2010; she and her son fell ill the next morning, said the Columbus Dispatch. Mrs. Ploghoft’s son improved; however, she was admitted to the Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and, later, to a nursing center in Athens, Ohio. Mrs. Ploghoft suffered a stroke on May 17 and died on June 22 in a hospital in Nelsonville.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates indicate that 1 in 6 people in the U.S. is sickened by contaminated food annually, with foodborne illness blamed for approximately 3,000 deaths every year. Salmonella infection is the most prevalent foodborne illness in the U.S.; in 2010, Salmonella poisoning resulted in 2,300 hospitalizations and 29 deaths.

Contamination with the Salmonella pathogen can cause salmonellosis, which can lead to serious consequences, most especially in the elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems, who may experience a more serious illness and symptoms. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Salmonella is dangerous and sometimes deadly; in some cases the strains are drug resistant. As a matter-of-fact, food safety watchdog group, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) recently announced that it filed a regulatory petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deem four antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strains as adulterants in certain meats, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP). The four strains involved are: Salmonella Heidelberg, Newport, Hadar, and Typhimurium. All have been linked with foodborne illness outbreaks, CIDRAP added.

When pathogens, such as the foodborne bacteria, Salmonella, become resistant to antibiotic treatment, treatment options are minimized, treatment becomes significantly more difficult, and patients cannot always be brought back to their presickness state.

The CDC notes that people suffering from salmonellosis usually experience symptoms beginning 12 to 72 hours after becoming contaminated. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and usually last 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without antibiotic treatment; however, diarrhea can be very severe, and hospitalization may be required.

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