In June 2015, the news broke that positive tests for Legionella had been recorded Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City, CO, and that the veterans’ facility’s water system was subsequently cleaned after an unnamed patient contracted Legionnaires’ disease.2 The Las Vegas Review-Journal now reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed in District Court by the family of a man who contracted Legionnaires’ disease (LD) at the facility. Our law firm is not representing the family.
According to the Complaint (a legal document filed in the case), Nevada Department of Veteran Services Administrator Mark McBride neglected to “implement a proper program for the prevention, detection, or control of legionella bacteria and the prevention of Legionnaires’ Disease.”
The man who contracted LD passed away on April 21, after being moved to hospice care. His official death certificate listed “Acute Myelogenous Leukemia” and “Aspiration and Legionella Pneumonia” as his cause of death at age 88.
The Veteran Administration’s Stance on Legionnaires’ Disease Control
In 2008, the Department of Veterans Affairs proactively distributed a set of Legionnaires’ Disease prevention and control policies, VHA Directive 1061 (updated and reissued on August 13, 2015). This directive: a) provided detailed steps and timelines for the implementation of LD prevention programs across all of its facilities; and b) required Medical Facility Directors to create “a medical facility HCA LD prevention policy which specified responsibilities and incorporates written HCA LD prevention plans no later than February 2, 2015.”
Despite Directive 1061, however, Legionnaires’ disease has repeatedly – and tragically – struck multiple veterans homes. Our attorneys are currently representing victims of this summer’s outbreak at Quincy, Illinois, which killed 12 people (11 residents and 1 visitor) and sickened more than 50 others, including 5 workers. Other clusters have occurred at facilities including the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and a VA hospital in Brockton, MA.