A story by Robert McCoppin in the Chicago Tribune tells the story of Kent Carson, an Illinois resident who lost his legs and one arm to Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria in water, generally mist, that is inhaled. The Legionella colonizes in the lungs. In some cases, it is transported to other organs via the blood, a condition called sepsis.
What happened to Mr. Carson is happening to more and more people in the United States; Legionnaires’ disease cases are rising, killing some victims and leaving many survivors permanently disabled.
On August 4, 2012, Mr. Carson had the chills. Three days later, he was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. His condition worsened. According to the Chicago Tribune:
Carson suffered a stroke and had blood clots and internal bleeding. He developed acute respiratory distress syndrome. His liver and kidneys began to fail, and he had very low blood pressure, so he was given medicine to preserve the blood supply to his organs. That restricted circulation to his extremities, which began to turn purple, then black. He developed gangrene, and doctors said his limbs had to be amputated.
The incubation period for Legionnaires’ is 2 to 10 days. There was a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Chicago during the time that Mr. Carson became ill. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team are representing victims of the outbreak, which was linked to a water fountain at the JW Marriott Hotel in Chicago. The victims of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to the JW Marriott were at the hotel between July 16 and August 15, 2012. Because Mr. Carson did not visit the JW Marriott during that time, health officials have determined that his case is not part of that outbreak.
Mr. Carson and his family are still not sure of the source of his case of Legionnaires’, which is the situation for most Legionnaires’ patients. This extremely hard on the patients and their families for several reasons:
- Most patients and their families want the wrongdoer to be held accountable;
- It makes it impossible to prevent further illnesses from the same source;
- Patients don’t know who to sue for compensation;
If a source of the illness is determined, anyone sickened after being at that location has the right to sue to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain, emotional suffering, disability, lost quality of life and other damages.
To prevent others from similar suffering, Mr. Carson and his family are calling for requirements that buildings with risk factors for Legionnaires’ get regular testing of their water systems. Having represented many Legionnaires’ disease clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, our attorneys stand with them. Public safety should be a top priority for hotels, apartment building owners and owners of other commercial property at risk for Legionnaires’. Legionnaires’ is a devastating illness that can and should be prevented.