Pathogenic E. coli can cause thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a life-threatening disease closely related to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and sometimes referred to as adult HUS. TTP-E. coli is preventable, and our attorneys have held companies accountable for food and water contamination that resulted in months of hospitalization, permanent injury and wrongful death. No person should have to endure this illness, and no family should have to watch their once health loved one struggle for life because good sanitation and testing procedures were not followed. Contact our E. coli attorneys for a free consultation.
TTP is diagnosed by finding the following:
- microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (loss of red blood cells through destruction) where a blood smear shows schistocytes (fragmented red blood cells)
- thrombocytopenia (decrease of platelets in blood)
- elevated lactate dehydrogenase (an enzyme), which when found suggests that red blood cells have broken down, a condition called hemolysis
Common symptoms and complications include:
- neurologic symptoms, often including cerebral edema (water in the brain) and seizures
- renal failure (kidney failure)
- heart arythmia and heart failure
- lung damage
- gall bladder damage
- pancreatitis (can include glucose intolerance)
- enlarged liver
When E. coli is the cause of TTP, the E. coli victim may have bloody diarrhea for a several days before symptoms of TTP become apparent. In some cases, the TTP-E. coli victim also experiences hematuria (red blood cells in the urine).
Whenever TTP-E. coli is suspected, both a stool sample and rectal swab should be tested for E. coli. If E. coli is found, further testing needs to be done to determine the strain of E. coli.
To link the E. coli victim’s illness to an outbreak, it is also necessary to do testing on the DNA of the bacterium with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), which provides a genetic fingerprint of the E. coli. Every outbreak is caused by food or water contaminated with E. coli with a unique genetic fingerprint.
E. coli-TTP can permanently damage multiple organs, including the kidneys, brain (caused by bleeding, swelling and/or herniation), and heart (generally myocardial necrosis). Our attorneys have helped E. coli-TTP victims and their families get the money needed to cover medical expenses and lost income, to provide some compensation for the pain and suffering endured, and to provide the family some compensation for all of the losses families suffer in these situations.