Fighting for life after E.coli


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Lilah Newton has been receiving treatment.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Oftentimes you hear about E-coli outbreaks, but do you know how E-coli can impact your health?

Back in July, Lilah Newton was visiting her grandma in Nebraska when she suddenly became sick.
After returning home to Bismarck, North Dakota with her mom Brenda, she still wasn’t getting better.

“She just was looking really dehydrated and, and they admitted her just cause she did need the fluids, and then she just, she just, wasn’t getting better. Wasn’t getting better,” Newton said.

Lilah had developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS, that in most cases is caused by infection with E. Coli.

HUS damages the blood vessels and can lead to kidney failure.

“I think that this disease and, you know, the prevalence, of E. Coli contaminating our food, is something that’s not really paid as much attention to as I think it should be,” Dr. Justin Kastle said.

Sanford Health Dr. Justin Kastle says Lilah presented with the common HUS symptoms, leading her to be put on dialysis.

But during her treatment, she suffered a right frontal lobe brain hemorrhage.

“I’ve been taking care of children with hemolytic-uremic syndrome for 10 years, and I’ve never seen this complication before,” Kastle said.

Laila underwent immediate brain surgery and was placed on life support.

“There was a couple of times where we almost lost her. It was really devastating to see what was going on. Mom and dad were in the room the whole time and Sanford was amazing. They work together like the best team in the world,” Newton said.

“We used every trick in the book and every trick that’s not in the book to get her brain swelling down and, and just, the cohesiveness of our unit here was amazing,” Kastle said.

“And they pulled her through it, little girl made it and, excuse me,” Newton said.

Lilah’s brain swelling was finally under control.

After 22 days on a ventilator, she was breathing on her own and slowly weaned off of sedation and dialysis.

“Just to watch her recover was, was one of the best experiences of my life,” Kastle said.

On September 11th she celebrated her 10th birthday in Sanford’s pediatric intensive care unit.

“It was, you know, for having a birthday in the hospital, it’s probably the best birthday you could have,” Newton said.

A celebration of life, and a miraculous recovery.

Lilah is now undergoing rehabilitation in Minnesota in hopes of making a full recovery.

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