Kids Safety Network

Young Siblings Start Coughing Up Blood After Drinking Contaminated Apple Juice

A 10-year-old boy celebrated his birthday with his 4-year-old half-sister recently. What should have been a happy occasion, ended up in the siblings coughing up blood. It happened at a restaurant in Pennsylvania, after drinking apple juice which had apparently become contaminated with chemicals.

Richie Zaragoza and his half-sister Ginaya Mendoza were immediately rushed to hospital after the incident at the Star Buffet & Grill in Lancaster and then spent a night in the ICU.

His Mom Virginia Davis told Lancaster Online: ‘When he drank the apple juice he’d been served he just started screaming “It burns, it burns”.’

She said Ginaya had taken a few sips before the boy. She vomited and said her stomach hurt but Davis thought she had just got sick.

However, when Richie started coughing up blood she realized the drink, served in foam cups, had been contaminated.

The restaurant manager, Steve Weng, told the local paper that he had absolutely no idea how the chemicals had got into the children’s drink. The chemical is believed to be some form of acid.

The children were hospitalized after Richie’s birthday celebrations went wrong.

Ginaya has since been released from Hershey Medical Center but Richie remains in hospital with severe mouth and throat burns.

Police have commissioned tests on the apple juice in the foam cup but the results are not known yet.

Davis said: ‘How do you take your kids out and expect this to happen? We were supposed to be celebrating his birthday.’

She said Richie already has cystic fibrosis and diabetes and his father, Richard Zaragoza Sr, said: ‘He’s been through a lot.’ 

Mr. Weng said the apple juice was bought at a local supermarket and is unsure how it had become contaminated. Davis was at the restaurant with her brother-in-law, Luis Mercado, and two of her other kids when the incident occurred. She said Doctors told her Richie would have to remain under sedation for several days.




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