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Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against OH Hospital Over Legionnaires’ Death

July 7, 2019 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

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A wrongful death claim has been filed against a hospital after a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, reports NBC 4I (https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/mount-carmel-legionnaires-wrongful-death-lawsuit-filed/).

The family of 75-year-old Deanna Rezes filed the lawsuit against the Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital in Grove City, Ohio. Rezes was the among the first people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ and the only person among the group who contracted it to die.

In May 2019, Rezes came to Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital with pulmonary hypertension. She was treated and released, but after about one week, she was rushed back to the hospital. The second time, she was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and died on June 1. Her family says she showed symptoms of the disease shortly after she returned home from the first visit.

The outbreak of this disease was announced by the hospital at the end of May, just one month after Mount Carmel opened to the public, and at least 16 people were sickened. Patients who contracted this severe form of pneumonia were exposed to the bacteria that causes it between April 27 and May 31. The patients who fell ill were not all on the same patient floors.

Once the outbreak was confirmed, the hospital introduced water-use restrictions that banned patient showers and only allowed them to drink bottled water. The restrictions have since been lifted after more than 2,000 temporary water filters were placed in the 201-bed facility. The water system for the hospital was also flushed and chlorinated, and Mount Carmel now has a plan in place to prevent a recurrence that includes a secondary treatment system for water and more extensive testing.

Legionella bacteria are found in water naturally, but when it spreads into drinking fountains, ice machines, faucets, shower stalls and building water systems, it can make people ill because they breathe the bacteria in via the affected airborne water droplets.

According to a representative of the Rezes family, the lawsuit is not about the compensation. It names both the hospital and the construction companies involved in its building because the family believes the hospital rushed to open its doors by April and caused unsanitary conditions that led to the bacteria developing in the pipes.

Local news outlets reached out to Mount Carmel for a statement about the wrongful death lawsuit, and the hospital issued an apology to all those who were affected and stated it is doing whatever it can to ensure this does not happen again.

A second lawsuit – a personal injury claim – has also been filed against Mount Carmel by James Lawton, who also was ill with Legionnaires’ disease after a brief stay at the hospital. He recovered after a two-week stay at another facility.

When a company or individual behaves recklessly or negligently and that contributes to another person’s death, they can be held responsible in a wrongful death claim. If you have lost a person you care about because of the behavior of another person or organization, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Denver, CO.

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and wrongful death claims.

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