A patient at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. The department did not report the source of the illness, but the hospital said that, after the diagnosis, it used bottled water instead of tap water and alcohol gel rather than tap water for hand-washing as a precaution.
This caution with water sources is necessary because Legionnaires’ disease is a waterborne disease that is only contracted when Legionella bacteria in water mist are inhaled. This means that water mist created by a faucet could transmit the disease if water coming out of the faucet is contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
When Legionella bacteria are inhaled, they colonize in the lungs and cause pneumonia. This is a severe form of pneumonia that often results in death. Pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria is called Legionnaires’ disease or Legionella pneumonia. The infection itself is sometimes referred to as legionellosis.
Who Can Be Sued for Legionnaires’ Disease?
Finding the source of the Legionella bacteria that caused an illness can be difficult for 2 reasons:
- It only takes a few cells of Legionella to cause serious illness; and
- The incubation period can be 14 days.
The task is made easier when 2 or more people are sickened in an outbreak of illness. If the outbreak victims all visited one building, that narrows the search for the contaminated water down to a water source at that building.
If the outbreak strain of Legionella is found in a building’s water system, that is solid evidence against the owner of the building that can be used in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Any building owner linked by good evidence to a Legionnaires’ disease case can be sued for money damages. This includes a hospital, hotel, school, landlord, etc.
Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman are 2 of our lead lawyers for these cases. They have won millions for clients sickened by water. You can contact Fred and Eric for a free case review (click here now) and talk to them about your case.