Boy Hospitalized After Drinking ‘Contaminated Juice’ at a Restaurant While Celebrating His Birthday

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(Facebook / Ginny Davis)

One family’s worst nightmare came true while celebrating their son’s 10th birthday party at a restaurant in Pennsylvania. Richie Zaragoza was enjoying his festivities at the Star Buffet & Grill in Lancaster when he and his sister became incredibly ill right after drinking contaminated apple juice.

Richie’s sister, 4-year-old Ginaya, was the first to try the juice and not long after her first sip, she complained of abdominal pain and began to vomit. Young Richie also had some juice and, according to his mother Virginia Davis, quickly began to shout, “It burns! It burns!” Shortly after, he began to cough up blood. A truly horrific scene for any parent.

Luis Mercado, Davis’ brother-in-law, also had some of the tainted apple juice and immediately detected some form of acid in the drink. He also began to spit up blood.

Restaurant manager Steve Weng told Lancaster Online that nothing like this had “ever happened at the Star Buffer in the year he’s been there.” He told them that the juice had been purchased from a local supermarket and that he was unaware of how it could have possibly been contaminated.

Richie and Ginaya were both taken to Penn State Children’s Hospital. Richie, who also has cystic fibrosis and diabetes, had to have a G tube (gastronomy tube) placed in his stomach but according to Davis’ Facebook page has since had it removed. Little sister Ginaya is fortunately doing better and is no longer under sedation. Both children will be unable to eat any food for at least another 5 to 7 days.

The East Lampeter Township police are working on obtaining test results to find out what exactly the juice was tainted with. Thus far, methanol has been revealed to be one of the substances found in the beverage. However, the verdict is still out on how exactly the juice became contaminated.

No word on whether the family will be pressing charges at this time. For now, they are focused on seeing their children through their recovery.