Vernon and North Okanagan
Family wants answers in E. coli death
Sep 24, 2013 / 8:22 am
A Vernon family has been left with far more questions than answers after a routine visit to Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm resulted in the death of a loved one.
Vernon’s Cory Van der Linde succumbed to an infection caused by the E. coli bacteria after eating cheese purchased from the farm.
It all started on the evening of July 29, 2013 when Dick was called by his father John saying his mother Cory was very sick.
“I went down and there was blood all over the place and obviously something was very, very wrong,” says Dick. His mother was immediately rushed to the hospital.
“Her suffering worsened and worsened and the few moments she had of consciousness, morphine or not, you could tell she was in extreme pain,” says Dick.
Three days after being in the hospital she was put into surgery. Dick says she survived the risky procedure, but was on life support from that day forward and unable to communicate with her family.
After 18 days in the hospital, Mrs. Cory Van der Linde succumbed to her infection.
“The doctor said there is no longer any hope and it's that time where you need to make the decision whether you are going to keep her on life support or have her pain levels increase so she will die a horrible death over the next few days,” shared Dick. “Nothing was going to save her life and they did their best they could, I will give the health professionals that.”
It took over six weeks from the day Cory was admitted into hospital, over five weeks since doctors knew she had E. Coli and two weeks after her burial that the family was finally told what killed her -- E. coli from Gort’s Cheese Farm.
“My question right away was when did you find out she was infected by E. coli? The doctor said to me it was the third day of her hospital stay.”
He groans, “If they had told me that is what she had, then I would have gone and cleaned out my dad's fridge so he doesn’t get E. coli and die on me as well”
Dick says his farther and siblings are hurt and frustrated that their mother’s death is being blamed on her health and that her death is somehow less important because she was elderly.
“My mom was in really good health; of course she had medical issues, but none of them played any part in her death. She had rheumatoid arthritis and anxiety,” he says. “We lost our mom and my dad lost his wife of 59 years so we take it to heart.”
The family lost their mother and companion on August 16, 2013, a day Dick says was a contrast of good and bad.
“That same day at the same hospital I held this new granddaughter of mine in my arms and welcomed her to the world and then we walked upstairs and took my mom off life support and I held my mom in my arms as she left this earth, so it was really quite the day,” says Dick.
He has spoken to Gort’s Cheese Farm, who were happy to hear from him and offered sincere condolences. “Are we upset at the cheese farm? No, because we don’t believe it was intentional. Having said that we still need to hear from the cheese farm if there is any type of compensation that they are willing to do for us.”
He continues, “We are not after anybody for lawsuits or whatever, but if something is broken in our system that could help people, let's fix it.”
The family is left with a hole in their hearts and a lot of unanswered questions, such as:
Why was the cheese infected with E. coli? Why did it take so long to inform the family? And couldn't something have been done to prevent this?
All questions, the Van der Linde family hopes to get answered as soon as possible from provincial and federal authorities, as well as the farm.
Click here to learn about the spread of E. coli tainted cheese cases across the country.
Read more Vernon / N. Okanagan News
- Firefighters kept busy with Vernon fires Dec 8
- RCMP files from Lumby Dec 7
- Stolen goods & drugs seized; 3 arrested Dec 6
- Push ups to save wife's teeth Dec 5
- Water main break in Vernon Dec 5
- Lumby RCMP looking for volunteers Dec 5
- Enderby home destroyed by fire Dec 4