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Tigard couple files lawsuit against restaurant

Pregnant woman had emergency C-section after food poisoning


A Tigard woman is suing Olive Garden restaurants after she said she was forced to have a Cesarian section instead of natural childbirth after she contracted norovirus while eating at the restaurant.

Miranda “Bree” Fischer was pregnant with her second child when she, her husband Erandi Saucedo and 13 friends and family visited the Olive Garden restaurant at Lancaster Mall in Salem, on Jan. 21, 2013.

The group ate lunch at the restaurant, and within 36 hours of their lunch, Fisher, Saucedo and four others became sick, the lawsuit claims.

She and her husband experienced diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and dehydration, the lawsuit claims. After about four hours of being ill, she went into labor.

That next morning, the couple was scheduled at Oregon Health & Science University hospital for an appointment with doctors to turn Fischer’s baby from a breach position so that she could give birth naturally.

Instead, doctors said Fischer was too unstable and dehydrated, and performed an emergency Cesarian section in order to deliver the baby.

The hospital would later diagnose Fischer with norovirus, a common form of gastroenteritis, easily passed through food.

The disease kills about 800 people each year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Fishcer’s husband was suffering similar symptoms, but was not diagnosed. Those symptoms interfered with his ability to support his wife and the birth of their child, the lawsuit alleges.

Saucedo did not get tested for norovirus, nor did the rest of the lunch guests who got sick, said Tom Patton, an attorney representing the family.

Patton said Fischer has experienced other complications from the norovirus as well.

“She wasn’t able to bond with the baby like she should have been able to,” he said. “Her milk never came in. There were a number of things that didn’t happen with their first child.”

The suit, which was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Jan. 24, asks for $49,500 in damages. It claims the restaurant failed to properly clean, cook and prepare the food; didn’t make sure that employees’ hands were washed; and allowed staff members to work while infected with norovirus.

Food poisoning happens, Patton said, and without the complications the couple experienced with their delivery, a lawsuit likely wouldn’t have been necessary.

“This wouldn’t be that big a deal normally, except that it impacted her childbirth in a very negative way,” Patton said.

Patton said the couple will proceed with litigation in the case, and is expected to enter arbitration with the restaurant chain within the next six months.




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