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Girl whose injury at Minnesota swimming pool led to legislation dies

Saturday, March 22, 2008

MINNEAPOLIS -- A 6-year-old girl whose intestines were partially sucked out by a swimming pool drain, leading to tougher safety legislation, has died, her family's attorney said Friday.

Abigail Taylor's parents were with her when she died Thursday at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where she had surgery in December to receive a new small bowel, liver and pancreas several months after she was injured.

She suffered setbacks, including a cancerous condition sometimes triggered by organ transplants, family attorney Bob Bennett said.

Abigail, of Edina in the suburban Twin Cities, was injured June 29 when she sat on a wading pool drain at the Minneapolis Golf Club in the suburb of St. Louis Park; its powerful suction ripped out part of her intestinal tract.

Her parents, Scott and Katey Taylor, lobbied for tougher regulations to help prevent similar injuries, and in December, President Bush signed a law that bans the manufacture, sale or distribution of drain covers that don't meet anti-entrapment safety standards.

The legislation, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, is named for another victim, the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. She drowned at a graduation party in 2002, when the suction from a drain pinned her.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called Abigail Taylor "an inspiration for change" who prodded pool-safety legislation that had gon e nowhere for years.

"I visited her in the hospital, and she just had this incredible spunk, and was very focused on wanting to get this bill through Washington," Klobuchar said.

In November, the Taylors sued the golf club and Sta-Rite Industries, the pool equipment manufacturer owned by Pentair of Golden Valley.

Gretchen Koehn, president of the Minneapolis Golf Club's executive committee, sent a note to club members notifying them of Abigail's death. The club's "hearts and prayers" go out to the Taylor family, she wrote.


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