Dick Vander Linde holds a photo of his mother after explaining that she was not frail before she became ill from e.coli.

Family wants to avoid future tragedies

Dick Vander Linde learned that his mother’s illness was caused by an e.coli infection.

  • Oct. 2, 2013 12:00 p.m.


Black Press

Six weeks after his mother was rushed to hospital and three weeks after she died, Dick Vander Linde learned that his mother’s illness was caused by an e.coli infection.

Corry Vander Linde, 82, of Vernon, was admitted to hospital July 29 after experiencing terrible abdominal pain and internal bleeding. She died Aug. 16.

On Sept. 13, Dick and his father John were informed that Corry had been suffering from an e.coli 0157:H7 infection linked to Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm.

Throughout this time, a wheel of cheese purchased at Gort’s remained in John’s fridge, being consumed regularly.

Dick tells his story because he would like to see improvements to the system, with information being provided sooner.

“My dad’s fridge would have been cleaned out earlier – we didn’t find out about the e. coli word until Sept. 13. That stretch of time is an incredibly long stretch of time,” he says. “As far as the system goes, the system isn’t working. I think the public deserves a better way of being looked after.”

He emphasizes that the physician and nurses taking care of his mother did a fantastic job; he has no complaint with them.

“It’s really the procedures and protocols… I shudder to think of my dad eating that cheese six weeks after my mom went into hospital.”

Another upset for him regarding health agencies was an official statement he heard noting that 11 people were infected with e. coli-related illness linked to the cheese and one elderly person had passed away – but had underlying conditions.

“It kind of sounds like, she was 82 and had to die anyway. This wasn’t my experience… This lady was in very robust health. This wasn’t a person half a year from passing away,” he emphasizes.

Corry had three children, 28 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

Dick says his mom  suffered from rheumatoid arthritis which limited her mobility, but she had no problems connected to the illness.

He explains that both his mom and dad were sick for about a week before he received a call from his dad at 3 a.m. July 29. They had first eaten the cheese about a week earlier. Until July 29 his mom seemed to have been recovering from what he thought was a flu of some sort, although she continued to complain about pain in her stomach and side.

In hospital it soon became obvious how serious her condition was, he said, with doctors eventually saying a slim hope was to remove her colon. Although she lived through the surgery, the infection continued unabated.

“What we watched was unbelievable. We learned a lot about e.coli and infections. You don’t understand what it does to a human body. It’s like a nightmare.”

One of Corry and John Vander Linde’s favourite outings was to go to Gort’s farm. Each month, they would go buy a wheel of cheese.

“They were regular customers. They loved the place, they always talked about it.”

Dick says while his family holds no grudges towards the owners of Gort’s and is not vindictive or looking for a lawsuit, he doesn’t think forgiveness is the right word to use at this point.

“I’m not blaming the owners of the cheese farm, I don’t believe they did this intentionally. Their intention was to put out a great product…,” he acknowledges, adding that it doesn’t negate the fact damage was done.

“When I cause damage to my neighbour’s property, I’m either going to go there and repair it or I’m going to pay somebody to repair it.”

Along with all the pain, the day Corry died was a beautifully spiritual day for her son. Dick was in the hospital when he ran into his youngest son – whose spouse had just had a baby.

“I was able to hold my 14th granddaughter two or three hours after she was born,” he explains. Then, a few hours later, “I held my mother in my arms while she left this earth.”


Just Posted

Coldstream celebrates spring with Easter egg hunt

The family-friendly event takes place Mackie Lake House Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m.

Vernon woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

Vipers win pivotal game 5 to take 3-2 series lead

Vipers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters by a score of 5-2 and will look to end the series Saturday night in Trail at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre. Contributed: Vernon Vipers Staff

None injured in small fire near Lumby

“It looks like it was accidental, definitely nothing suspicious.”

Vernon road closed again following landslide

The road that was reopened Thursday morning was closed again Friday following geotechnical engineer report.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read