A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the UW-Madison Hospital in Wisconsin has sickened 11 people, killing one of them. The outbreak, believed to be linked to the hospital’s hot water system, has affected patients admitted since October 31, 2018. The patient who died had been hospitalized for other serious health conditions.
“When Legionnaires’ disease is fatal, and it often is, the family may have a wrongful death claim against the responsible party,” said Legionnaires’ disease lawyer Fred Pritzker. He and Eric Hageman, who lead the Legionnaires’ Disease Team at the national law firm Pritzker Hageman, recently recovered a $3 million wrongful death settlement for the family of a woman who died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease at a hotel.
UW-Madison Hospital Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak
Health officials said four people remain hospitalized and six have been released. Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Hospital, told local media that the outbreak may be linked to the hospital’s decision to reduce water flow during low-demand times. Such a reduction could make the system to more vulnerable to the growth of Legionella, that bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. The hospital has since resumed regular water flow and chlorinated its water system.
Legionella bacteria can cause two types of illness: Pontic Fever, a mild respiratory illness; and Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia. People contract these illnesses by inhaling water vapor that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include high fever, headache, muscle aches, cough and shortness of breath. They usually develop within 10 days of exposure and last about a week. Most people with Legionnaires’ disease need to be hospitalized.
“About one in every ten cases or Legionnaires’ disease is fatal,” Pritzker said. Those at elevated risk for the disease are people over 50, people who smoke, or people who have chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems.
Free Consultation About a Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit
To request a free consultation about a Legionnaires’ disease lawsuit, use this online form. Or, reach a member of our Legionnaires’ Disease Team by calling 1(888) 377-8900 toll-free. The call is free and there is no obligation.