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updated: 8/16/2014 3:58 PM

Woman who drank chemical-laced tea shows imnprovement

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  • Attorney Paxton Guymon holds a photograph of Jim and Jan Harding during a news conference Thursday in Salt Lake City.

      Attorney Paxton Guymon holds a photograph of Jim and Jan Harding during a news conference Thursday in Salt Lake City.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman who unknowingly drank iced tea laced with an industrial cleaning solution at a Utah restaurant has improved for the first time since being rushed to a hospital nearly a week ago.

Family attorney Paxton Guymon says Jan Harding's breathing tube has been removed, and the 67-year-old was able to whisper briefly. She also got out of bed with assistance from nurses.

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Guymon said Saturday that Harding's family is more optimistic about her recovery, though she remains in critical condition.

Authorities say the heavy-duty cleaner containing lye that ended up in the sweetened iced tea she drank Sunday at a suburban Salt Lake City restaurant was unintentionally mixed into a bag of sugar, which a worker later added into the iced tea dispenser.

Doctors found deep, ulcerated burns in Harding's upper esophagus.

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