Chicago Legionnaire’s Disease Attorney
Legionnaire’s disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella. The bacteria are typically found in water, and people can become sick after breathing in water droplets containing Legionella. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people exposed to the bacteria never become sick, but people over 50, people who smoke, or who have chronic lung diseases or weakened immune systems may be more prone to becoming ill.
The disease is named after an outbreak in the 1970s at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia where a lot of people became sick. Anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 Americans become sick with Legionnaire’s disease each year. The most common places where outbreaks are seen include hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes. A medical negligence attorney may be able to help in your specific case.
Legionella isn’t transmitted from person to person, but when a water system becomes contaminated infection can be widespread. The most common places where the bacteria grow and infect people include:
- Hot tubs
- Drinking water systems
- Decorative water fountains
- Cooling towers
Symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease include cough, shortness of breath, fever, and aches. Illness can be treated with antibiotics, but in some cases can cause lung failure or organ damage. In some cases, an infection can be fatal.
Legionnaire’s Disease in Hospitals and Nursing Homes
The spread of Legionella can be prevented when water is properly treated, such as in a fountain or drinking water system, or heated to a sufficient temperature to kill the bacteria, such as in a hot tub. An outbreak may be the result of negligently failing to inspect or maintain a drinking water system, HVAC system, or plumbing system. If a hospital or nursing home fails to monitor a water system and people become sick, that may be medical malpractice.
People admitted to hospitals, or who live in nursing homes, can be especially vulnerable to developing pneumonia after breathing in Legionella bacteria. When someone is in the hospital, their body already is fighting an injury or illness and their immune system may not be able to handle having to fight of a Legionella infection as well. Additionally, many people who are exposed to Legionella in hospitals or nursing homes may be elderly.
Hospitals or nursing homes can be subject to medical malpractice claims in much the same way as individual doctors or health providers. When administrators are negligent in maintaining the facility and patients or occupants become injured, sick, or harmed, a malpractice claim may arise.
How a Chicago Legionnaire’s Disease Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has become sick with Legionnaire’s disease in a hospital or nursing home, an experienced legionnaire’s disease attorney can evaluate the circumstances of your illness and discuss with you the possibility of making a claim. In a medical malpractice claim, you may be able to recover your medical costs, lost wages if you lost time at work, and your pain and suffering.