Chelsea’s Gentle Care Child Development Center in Westminster is facing a lawsuit related to an Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak. The complainants say their children contracted the infection, while in attendance at the center.
Emily Starrs and Justin Gates, Tim and Meghan Rose and Adam and Rebecca Gorman filed a lawsuit on behalf of their children. Tonya Harrison owns Chelsea’s Gentle Care, which is now called Fresh Start Early Learning Center and two other locations in Westminster.The Baltimore County Health Department investigated Chelsea’s Gentle care after a child enrolled in the facility tested positive for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli or STEC. According to the lawsuit filed by the three parents, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Carroll County Health Department investigated the center and recommended that it close to stop the spread of E. coli.
The agencies discovered that there were potentially 23 victims of the E. coli strain at the child care facility at 531 Old Westminster Pike, according to the lawsuit.
After corrective actions were taken, the center was permitted to reopen on June 9, 2015. Health officials think that most of the cases originated from the May 18, 2015 outbreak, according to the lawsuit. The child of Gates and Starrs was one of the children who contracted the infection on that date.
The child developed gastrointestinal distress and a fever and later transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital when his condition did not improve. Doctors diagnosed him with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli, according to the lawsuit.
The child underwent dialysis and was fed through a nasogastric tube because of the extent of damage to his kidneys, according to the lawsuit.
Rebecca and Adam Gorman’s two young children began experiencing bouts of nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain between May 20 and May 21, 2015. Symptoms lasted several weeks, according to the lawsuit.
Rebecca Gorman also contracted the infection as a result of caring for her two children, according to the lawsuit.
Meghan and Tim Roses’ child fell sick some time around May 23, 2015. On May 27, he was transported by helicopter to Johns Hopkins University, where doctors diagnosed him with hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to the lawsuit.
The child required dialysis for 26 days and remained in the hospital for a month, according to the lawsuit.
The complainants are alleging that the child care center failed to maintain sanitary conditions, failed to provide a safe environment, failed to adopt policies that would prevent E. coli, failed to provide beverages and food that were not contaminated and failed to notify authorities of an illness. According to the lawsuit, there were a total of 13 complaints.
The lawsuit claims that Chelsea’s Gentle Care led to lost wages, pain and suffering, physical impairment, medical expenses, emotional distress and physical disfigurement, along with other damages.
The complainants are asking for $75,000 in addition to future and past damages, both noneconomic and economic, as well as court costs and attorney fees.