Outbreak Update: There are now six confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, and the investigation is ongoing. If you are part of this outbreak linked to SpringHill Suites in Round Rock, Texas, you may have the right to sue.
At least five hotel guests and an employee have contracted Legionnaires’ disease after being at The SpringHill Suites on 2960 Hoppe Trail in Round Rock, Texas. These victims caught the potentially fatal form of Legionella pneumonia at various times over the summer; the hotel was closed on Wednesday, October 4th and its guests were relocated to other hotels. Their doors will remain closed until the source of the infection can be located.
Our law firm is investigating this outbreak.
When the three hotel guests were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after they returned home from their stay at The SpringHill Suites, their local health departments investigated and ascertained that each victim had either used the hot tub at the hotel or sat in a chair right next to it. Texas’ State Department of Health Services (TDHS) was notified of the first case on September 29, 2017, and the next two cases on October 2. The department moved quickly upon learning about the cluster of cases last week:
“With Legionnaires’ Disease, one case is certainly an emergency. One case.”John Teel, Executive Director, Williamson County and Cities Health District
Teel cautions anyone who was a guest at the hotel or otherwise spent time in its building between mid-September and October 4th to be on their guard for signs of pneumonia or flu-like symptoms. “If they have those symptoms, they need to seek medical help immediately. This is a dangerous illness” (1). The initial symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease (Legionella pneumonia) normally present within 2 to 10 days after exposure to the contaminated water source. These symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, headaches, and disorientation / hallucinations.
When multiple cases of Legionnaires’ disease are linked to a shared source, this constitutes a “cluster” or an “outbreak,” and health department officials spring into action to identify and remediate the source of the contagion.
Why is Legionnaires’ Disease Associated with SpringHill Suites So Dangerous?
“As dangerous as this illness is, it is entirely preventable. Hotels have a responsibility to regularly test their water systems, including hot tubs, to detect the presence of Legionella. Failing to do so can result in life-threatening outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.”
Attorney Eric Hageman
Legionnaires’ disease (also called legionellosis) is spread when Legionella pneumonia bacteria proliferate in a building’s complex water systems – these can include hot tubs like the one at The SpringHill Suites at Round Rock, potable drinking water plumbing, cooling towers, and decorative fountains.
When mist or water droplets contaminated with the Legionella bacteria are breathed or aspirated into a person’s lungs, they can develop Legionnaires’ disease – a severe type of pneumonia that is particularly dangerous to people over 50, smokers, those with compromised immune systems, or individuals with underlying medical conditions like COPD, diabetes, HIV, kidney disease, or cancer.
“About 1 in 10 people who get Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Financial Costs of Legionella Pneumonia
People who survive Legionella pneumonia (after sometimes long and expensive hospitalization) can also develop short- or long-term complications such as unremitting fatigue and persistent chest x-ray abnormalities, respiratory failure, septic shock, acute kidney failure, endocarditis, pericarditis, or Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The associated healthcare costs can be staggering:
“A team led by researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and Tufts University School of Medicine found that between 1991 and 2006, more than 617,000 hospitalizations related to three common plumbing pathogens resulted in around $9 billion in Medicare payments — an average of $600 million a year. The costs may now exceed $2 billion for 80,000 cases per year, write the study authors. Antibiotic resistance, which can be exacerbated by aging public water infrastructure, was present in between one and two percent of hospitalizations and increased the cost per case by between 10 to 40 percent.”Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus
This Tufts University study ascertained that, on average, hospitalization for Legionnaires’ disease can cost $45,840 in Medicare charges and $14,920 in payments. If a patient develops antibiotic resistance, these costs balloon to $60,870 in Medicare charges and $16,690 in payments. Add to this the costs of lost wages, transportation to and from medical facilities, and aftercare: guests who contract Legionnaires’ disease at a hotel or on a cruise ship end up paying thousands of dollars more than they bargained for on their “vacation.”
Can I Sue SpringHill Suites for Legionnaires’ Disease?
If you have been diagnosed with this severe form of pneumonia after staying at SpringHill Suites in Round Rock, Texas, you can contact our law firm about a lawsuit against the owner of the hotel. You may have the right to sue for compensation, and depending on the severity of your injuries, that amount could be substantial.
Hot tubs are a known and common source of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. People who catch Legionnaires’ disease at a hotel that has neglected to adequately maintain its water systems are entitled to compensation for their medical costs, aftercare, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one stayed at The SpringHill Suites at Round Rock this summer and contracted Legionnaires’ disease, you should hire a Legionnaires’ disease lawyer who specializes in these sort of cases and has a proven record of reaching multimillion-dollar settlements with hotel corporations. Call our law firm at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free).
(1) Perchick, Michael. “Round Rock hotel shunts down after Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.” KVUE. Web. 5 Oct. 2017.