Hospitals and other medical facilities are places where patients expect to be treated and cured of illnesses and injuries. But as one Louisiana native recently discovered, sometimes one can go to a hospital and end up in worse health off after being admitted than when he or she came in.
The man in question went to a Veterans Administration hospital to have a prescription filled. It was a routine visit, or so it seemed at first. But a week later he fell ill — with Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially lethal illness caused by the water-borne Legionella bacteria.
Health officials tested the water in the man’s home, but found no evidence of Legionella there. Working back over his activities over the week, the victim recalled his visit to the VA hospital. And then he remembered drinking the water there.
Over a year afterward, representatives from the VA told the man that he may indeed have been exposed to the deadly bacteria at the hospital that he visited and apologized to him. He filed a lawsuit, but the VA then denied any wrongdoing. VA officials have allegedly told another veteran that he too was likely exposed to Legionella at the same hospital. Other veterans have been identified as having been exposed to the disease at other VA facilities as well. The VA diagnosed 11 people at one hospital during a three-month period.
Contaminated water supplies such as those that carry Legionella may not be an issue confined to VA hospitals. Other hospitals may receive citations for unsanitary conditions which may evidence a form of hospital negligence.
Anyone who contracts an illness such as Legionnaires’ disease after visiting any medical facility should consider the possibility of having been exposed there and seek legal advice.
Source: TribLive.com, “Victims of Legionnaires’ livid they were not told of outbreak,” Mike Wereschagin, June 21, 2014