Ms. Smith purchased beef produced by Fairbank Farms at Shaw's grocery store in Portland, Maine in mid-September 2009, and consumed the product in late October.

On November 6, 2009, she began to suffer from symptoms consistent with an E. coli O157:H7 infection, including diarrhea and abdominal pain. Soon, Ms. Smith began to show signs of extreme discomfort and illness. Her fever spiked, and her bouts of diarrhea increased in frequency.

Finally, on November 9, Ms. Smith was hospitalized, where the admitting physician immediately ordered multiple stool and blood samples. Nurses also inserted an intravenous line into her arm to combat her extreme dehydration. Unfortunately, Ms. Smith's condition only worsened.

Two days into her stay, Ms. Smith developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a condition that can lead to kidney failure and in extreme cases, death. As a result, she remained hospitalized for nearly a month, until December 1, 2009. During this time, Ms. Smith tested positive for the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 found in the Fairbank Farms ground beef.

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