Tacoma boy fights for life with E. coli infection after 4-year-old friend dies

Elizabeth Sutton and her son, Brad. (Photo courtesy of family)

TACOMA -- Five-year-old Brad Sutton is fighting for his life.

"He's doing better now. His levels for his kidneys are coming up, which is good so he’s doing better right now, but he’s not out of the woods,” Brad’s mother, Elizabeth Sutton, said.

He’s in Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, undergoing treatment for hemolytic uremic syndrome -- a failure of his kidneys usually caused by an E. coli infection.

Brad got sick days after he and his friend Serena Profitt, 4, ate with their families at a restaurant in Otis, Ore., near Lincoln City.

Their families believe the cause was a turkey sandwich that the two split for dinner, because days later both kids got sick.

Serena got so bad she was eventually taken to a McMinnville, Ore., hospital, where she went into kidney failure.

"She's the most vibrant young girl ever; she's just sweet, loving and so amazing, so smart, just a heart that is of gold,” Serena’s aunt, Aleahsa Hargitt, told KPTV in Portland.

Serena was later rushed to Doernbecher Children's Hospital, where the family said doctors diagnosed her with E. coli.

"She was great Sunday morning, and then by 4 o'clock, she had a stroke," said Hargitt.

Serena Profitt, 4, died after contracting E. coli during the Labor Day weekend. (Photo: KPTV/Portland)

Serena’s family says her condition advanced to her brain and caused her other organs to shut down.

Monday night, the family took her off life support.

"I was crushed," Sutton said. "Our families have always been close. I was mortified that it happened to her."

The Oregon Health Department is also aware of the recent E. coli report, which they say can be very dangerous for children and the elderly.

"E. coli 0157 and others are one of the worst foodborne illnesses that you can get,” the Oregon Health Department's Dr. Paul Cieslak said.

Health officials say people should always avoid eating undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk and juices and you should always wash your hands after using the restroom.

Meanwhile, in little Brad's hospital room, his family hoping for good news.

"My hope is he walks out of here just fine, with no permanent damage, or stroke or seizures or anything,” Sutton said.

CLICK HERE for related story on little girl who died from E. coli complications