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Camryn Hansen
Camryn Hansen
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Husband of Swine Flu Victim Sues US Pig Farmer Smithfield Foods for Wrongful Death

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The husband of 33 year-old Judy Trunnell, the first US resident to die from the swine flu, or H1N1 virus, has filed a lawsuit against the Smithfield Foods, the American owner of the Mexican pig farm thought to be the virus’ birthplace.

Contradicting health officials’ reports that Trunnell had “chronic” health problems which contributed to her death, Trunnell’s husband Steven claims she was always in excellent health. She had delivered a baby girl by C-section only a few days before her May 5 death, after being admitted to the hospital with flu symptoms and slipping into a coma shortly afterward.

The petition filed Monday in state district court in Cameron County seeks permission to conduct depositions for a possible wrongful death claim against the $12 billion company.

“Take a million pigs and put them into a relatively small area and it creates a breeding ground for certain things,” [Steven Trunnell’s attorney Marc] Rosenthal said. “We believe that the evidence may show that it was ground zero for swine flu.” –



Lynn Brezosky, Express News

Smithfield Foods, who shares ownership in the world’s largest pig farm in Veracruz, Mexico, has made no comment on the lawsuit.

Steven Trunnell said he first approached a lawyer about health officials telling news media his wife had “chronic” underlying respiratory problems. The CDC later said Trunnell “had a history of psoriasis and mild asthma.”

Trunnell said his wife did not have asthma, though she was prescribed an inhaler, which he said was her first ever, for a recent cold.

“I wanted to get to the bottom of them misinforming the press as well as violating any privacy issues,” Trunnell said. “The first time I read it I was appalled. I can’t even express the words. I’m not blaming the press as much as I’m blaming whoever’s giving them the information.” -EN

According to the CDC, about 20 swine flu cases in the US are pregnant women, whose health it is closely monitoring.