A grieving New Jersey mother is seeking answers as to how a viral outbreak killed her daughter and six other pediatric patients being cared for at a rehabilitation facility in Haskill. Kristine Poulos, whose 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth died on Tuesday, wants to know if more could have been done to stem the outbreak, and questions the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation timeline.
“Am I angry? I think what it is, I need to know information, I like facts,” Poulos, whose daughter had severe medical issues that required a breathing and feeding tube, told ABC News 7. “I just want to know what happened. She’s gone, I can’t bring her back, she’s not coming back.”
The illness, identified as adenovirus 7, has sickened 11 others at the facility and poses the greatest risk to patients with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory and cardiac disease. According to the CDC it causes a wide range of illnesses including common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, fever, bladder infection, inflammation of the stomach or neurologic disease.
Poulos said her daughter had been taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center with a high fever before being transferred back to the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation this week, where she died on Tuesday.
Poulos told ABC News 7 that she questions the facility’s timeline of events. She claims her daughter was ill for five days before the facility notified the state health department on Oct. 9.
"Why wouldn't you report it sooner?" she told the news outlet.
Paula Costigan, whose 14-year-old son was sickened in the outbreak, told NJ.com that she didn’t know about the illness until one week later.
“He is in really bad shape … it started to affect his right lung,” Costigan told the new outlet.
A spokesperson for the 227-bed facility told NJ Advance Media that the facility “promptly notified all appropriate government agencies when the virus was initially identified.”
The state health department has sent a team of investigators to the facility to determine the cause of the outbreak. The CDC is also investigating.