You Can Sue a Hospital for Legionnaires’ Disease Pneumonia
Four patients treated at Grady Memorial Hospital since January 1, 2009, have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.
In each case, the patient was hospitalized, discharged to home, then returned to the hospital several days later after feeling symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease, which include headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever over 104 degrees.
As of February 17, 2009, one of the patients remains hospitalized.
Water samples taken from bathrooms in patient rooms on two floors of Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella can contaminate water in showers, air conditioning systems and pools, particularly whirlpool spas. Humans can be infected by breathing in mists or vapors of contaminated water.
The disease, named for an outbreak at a 1976 convention of the American Legion, can cause death in between five and 30 percent of cases, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, is often fatal. Complications include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Respiratory failure. If there are mechanical changes in the lungs (ventilatory failure) or oxygen loss in the arteries (hypoxemic respiratory failure), respiratory failure may result.
- Septic shock. Toxins released by the Legionella bacteria may lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure, which reduces blood flow to vital organs, including the heart and kidney. This can result in multiple organ failure and death.
- Acute kidney failure. This is the sudden loss of your kidneys’ ability to eliminate excess fluid and waste from the blood.
- Endocarditis. This is an infection of the endocardium, an inner lining of the heart. This can happen when Legionella spread through the bloodstream.
- Pericarditis. This is a swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the membrane around your heart.