Woman Eats Hamburger, Ends Up Paralyzed

Warning: by the time you finish reading this post, you may want to become a vegetarian. Or at least swear off hamburgers. On the front page of Sunday’s New York Times, there was a terrifying story about Stephanie Smith, a 22-year-old dance instructor who ate a hamburger her mom made her back in 2007. The next day she got sick, and thought it was a run-of-the mill stomach virus. Until she started having seizures, and convulsions so strong that doctors thought the best option was to induce a coma. Smith got E. coli and is now paralyzed from the waist down. “I ask myself every day, ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why from a hamburger?’” she said in one of the most heartbreaking statements ever. According to this article, hamburger meat is pretty darn vulnerable to contamination because it’s made of a whole lot of parts of cows ground together. A single burger patty can contain slaughterhouse scraps from, say, Nebraska, Texas, Uruguay, and South Dakota. And the government doesn’t test for E. coli—companies are required to do that on their own. Let’s just say that many don’t. Makes a barbecue sound a bit less appealing, no? While cases like this are rare, does this freak you out? [NY Times]

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