To date, 5 veterans have contracted Legionnaires’ disease (legionellosis) from contaminated water at the Pittsburgh veterans hospital at University Drive.

According to U.S. Senator Bob Casey,  these veterans were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease due to the poor quality of the hospital’s water supply.  This outbreak, allegedly caused by the hospital’s failure to properly monitor water purity, could have been prevented. There is no excuse for this kind of negligence at a hospital.

The careless disregard for safety put the lives of all veterans visiting the hospital for medical care at risk. The risk is very real. A CDC study of reported cases indicated a death rate of 40 percent for hospital-acquired cases. For those who survive, the hospital stay is generally long, and recovery is slow. Some victims never fully recover.

Senator Casey wrote, “Pennsylvania is home to a network of eight VA medical centers and additional community based out-patient clinics that service approximately 270,000 veterans annually.  It is our obligation to ensure that these veterans receive the highest standards of care possible.  It is a true disservice that veterans may come to the VA seeking help and potentially contract an additional medical condition, in a manner that is proven to be preventable.”

We agree with Senator Casey.  This should never happen again.