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Suit claims husband's food poisoning death killed wife

Most everyone probably has a story from their own experience, or has heard one from someone else, about how the death of one spouse led to the death of the other. A lot of times, the cause of that second death is attributed, perhaps euphemistically, to a broken heart. There is a wrongful death suit now in court seeking damages under such a claim.

It's a case we here in Maryland have reason to be interested in. At the heart of it is the accusation that bad oysters triggered the whole thing.

According to a report about the case, a woman in Tennessee is suing a seafood market in Knoxville. She claims that both her father and mother died after he bought oysters from the facility on Sept. 20, 2008. Two days after later, her father wound up in the hospital. Doctors determined he had contracted vibrio from eating the seafood.

Vibrio is what's known as a gram-negative bacteria. It's part of the same group of bacteria as e-coli and salmonella. It flourishes in warm salt waters, which is why people are warned to steer clear of oysters during summer months of the year, May through August. When someone becomes infected by vibrio it can cause symptoms similar to cholera.

The complaint indicates that while only the father died of the toxic bug, his wife was still a victim. It describes how, after he died, she gradually, but visibly, began to deteriorate. Their daughter says her mother endured a reckless inducement of emotional distress that ended in her death about one month after watching her husband lose his battle with vibrio.

The amount of damages she is seeking for the wrongful deaths is not indicated.

Source:, "Bad Oysters Killed Dad, Woman Says, and Then Her Mother Died of Grief," Nov. 10, 2011

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