A 20-year-old Utah woman is suing Costco Wholesale Corp. after she got sick from eating chicken salad from one of its stores in 2015.
Chloe Rodgerson was one of at least 19 people across the United States who were affected by E. coli believed to be from a celery and onion mix in the salad.
Although the friends and family who ate the salad with her showed only temporary symptoms like diarrhea, gas pains, and stomach cramping, Rodgerson was admitted to the intensive care unit for vomiting up blood.
Doctors had a hard time figuring out what was causing her problems, she said, until the FDA called to ask if she had eaten Costco chicken salad.
Later, doctors diagnosed her with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition that causes the abnormal destruction of red blood cells.
This occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of people who ingest E. coli. Only one other person who ate Costco’s chicken salad had HUS. Three others were hospitalized.
Over the last two years, Rodgerson said she has racked up over $2 million in medical bills as her condition led to renal failure, epilepsy, and diabetes.
In February, her husband Josh Batstone became a kidney donor after doctors said she would need a kidney transplant.
Robertson’s health care providers told her that she should expect ongoing medical care for dialysis, to adjust her medications and diet, and when her current donor kidney gives out.
Her lawyers estimate that her future medical expenses will be in the tens of millions of dollars.
The only way she could pay off her medical bills and cover her ongoing treatment, she said, was to sue.
“I’m kind of in a place where I don’t have any other options,” she told a Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City. “I don’t have $2 million and I’m not going to have sufficient resources to keep myself alive going forward in the future.”
Rodgerson wanted to be an actress on Broadway and had just scored a job as a Disney princess at Disney World in Orlando when she got sick. She had planned to get an online Associate’s degree, for which Disney would give her tuition compensation, and save money for grad school at Pace University in New York.
“It’s crazy to think I had such big goals like acting for film or Broadway when now my biggest goals are to make it through the month without getting admitted,” she told Delish.
Her aspirations of working on Broadway have been cut short because of her condition, and her physicians don’t expect that she will be able to work full time because of ongoing health issues.
Her lawyers filed the lawsuit Aug. 8 in Utah in the U.S. District Court for the Central Division of Utah, requesting a jury trial to determine monetary damages for claims involving liability and negligence.