Offering Tough, Committed Representation in Lawsuits for Legionnaires' Disease Cases
Legionellosis, or Legionnaires' disease, is a devastating, often fatal infection. The Mayo Clinic describes Legionnaires' disease as a serious form of pneumonia caused by inhaling bacteria known as legionella. People commonly contract Legionnaires' disease in large buildings such as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and cruise ships. These buildings have complex water systems where it is often difficult to immediately detect the presence of legionella bacteria. When not promptly treated, Legionnaires can cause respiratory failure, septic shock, kidney failure and death.
If you or a loved one contracted Legionnaires' disease, it is very likely this disease was caused by a company's failure to keep its water systems free of bacteria. This is negligence, plain and simple. These negligent parties must be held accountable for their actions. An experienced Legionnaires' disease lawyer can be instrumental in helping you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Legionnaires' Disease By The Numbers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 8,000 and 18,000 individuals are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease each year. It is very likely that many more cases of Legionnaires go unreported and undiagnosed. People can contract Legionnaires at any time of year, although the greatest number of these cases are diagnosed in summer and early fall.
While anyone can contract Legionnaires' disease, certain groups of people are at greater risk for suffering severe illness or death. People with a heightened risk for Legionnaires' disease include:
- People age 50 or older
- People with chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema
- Current or former smokers
- People with weakened immune systems
What Are the Causes of Legionnaires' Disease?
The bacteria that causes Legionnaires is most often found in the plumbing or air conditioning units of large buildings. This bacteria can also be found in any body of warm water, including hot tubs, fountains and humidifiers. This bacteria festers in warm water. After the water evaporates, the bacteria can become airborne and spread. This bacteria frequently spreads through a building's air ducts.
The spread of this bacteria through air ducts is the main reason why Legionnaires can happen to large groups of people at the same time. In fact, Legionnaires earned its name due to the fact that the first known outbreak that happened at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. More than 200 people fell ill and 34 people died in this outbreak. Today, Legionnaires' outbreaks most frequently occur in hotels, hospitals or any large dwelling that houses a lot of people such as hotels or hospitals.
Anytime a property owner allows this bacteria to grow and multiply, the property owner is negligent. At Klest Injury Law Firm, we have the experience, tenacity and resources to hold these property owners responsible for their negligence.
What Is the Diagnosis for Legionnaires' Disease
According to the CDC, Legionnaires is fatal for between 5 percent and 30 percent of individuals who contract the disease. Obviously, it is critical that any person with Legionnaires' symptoms is treated immediately. Unfortunately, Legionnaires' symptoms are very similar to other types of illnesses. Obviously, if you have traveled in the weeks prior to contracting the disease, it is important to tell your medical provider. Legionnaires' disease is an especially severe form of pneumonia. Consequently, antibiotics are the primary treatment for Legionnaires.
Legionnaires' Disease In Hospitals
Anytime you go to the hospital to treat an illness or injury, your body is especially vulnerable to infection or disease. In fact, hospital-acquired infections are a common cause of disease and death. Legionnaires' disease is one such infection. In fact, Legionnaires' disease is often fatal for people who acquire the disease in a hospital. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly half of the people who acquire Legionnaires in hospitals die.
The most tragic aspect of Legionnaires' disease in hospitals, or anywhere for that matter, is that it is entirely preventable. The bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease thrives in warm water. When there are defects in the air conditioning or plumbing systems in a hospital, this bacteria can multiply. Hospital management must take steps to prevent or cure these defects.
At Klest Injury Law Firm, we are serious about holding hospitals accountable. Legionnaires' disease is unfortunately not rare. Thousands of people are diagnosed with Legionnaires each year. There have been numerous outbreaks of Legionnaires in hospitals in recent years, including:
- 11 people contracted Legionnaires at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. Three of these individuals died. The likely cause of the outbreak stems from a defectively constructed water system.
- Eight people contracted Legionnaires at Aurora Hospital in Cudahy, Wisconsin. The outbreak was believed to have been caused by a defective fountain.
- Three people at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, contracted Legionnaires. One of these patients later died. The CDC later found bacteria in the hospital's water supply.
- Six patients at Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey contracted Legionnaires.
Legionnaires' Disease In Hotels
Whether you are there for business or pleasure, when you stay at a hotel, you have every right to expect the hotel to provide a safe environment free of any hazards. When hotels fail in this duty, the results can be tragic. These outbreaks often happen in hotels. Hotels are especially susceptible to Legionnaires, because the disease can grow and spread in complex water systems, such as those found in hotels. Legionnaires can also spread in hot tubs, pools or other hotel facilities. Hotel management and staff must be diligent in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria that causes Legionnaires.
Although Legionnaires' disease is not thought of as a common illness, Legionnaires' outbreaks happen far more frequently than you might expect. Here are some of the more recent Legionnaires' outbreaks occurring in hotels.
- Three people staying at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas contracted Legionnaires. One of these people died.
- Six people staying at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas contracted Legionnaires.
- Six people who stayed at the Plim Plaza Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland, were hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease. One of these people later died as a result.
- Six people staying at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel in Albany, New York, contracted Legionnaires.