Arizona patients may not be pleased to learn that, according to a study, one in five cases of Legionnaires disease could be linked to hospitals and other health care facilities. The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and looked at health care facilities in 20 states.
Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that is caused by a bacteria called Legionella. This bacteria can grow in water storage systems such as tanks and pipes. In health care facilities, the bacteria can be spread through sinks, bathtubs and showers. In some cases, medical equipment that use water can also harbor the bacteria. Patients or nursing home residents who have a weakened immune system may be most at risk for Legionnaires' disease.
An outbreak of the disease occurred in Genesee County, Michigan, from 2014 to 2015. Dozens of patients became sick and 12 died in the outbreak. Flint's McLaren Hospital claimed that the outbreak may have been caused by the city's improperly treated drinking water. New cases fell sharply after Flint switched its drinking water source away from Flint River near the end of 2015.
Because Legionnaires' disease can be deadly, health care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes must reduce the risk of the Legionella bacteria becoming established in their water systems. If a hospital fails to take the necessary precautions and a patient becomes ill due to the water system, additional medical treatment might be necessary. In some cases, patients might die if they had a weakened immune system to begin with. People who have been harmed by this type of hospital negligence may want to meet with an attorney to see if seeking compensation for their losses might be advisable.