Legionnaires’ Disease Can Be Fatal
Legionnaires disease is a life threatening form of pneumonia. One can contract it by inhaling contaminated water vapor. According to the National Institute of Health, the death rate is higher in patients with other existing diseases and in smokers. The death rate for patients who develop Legionnaires’ disease while in the hospital is highest and rises to nearly 50 percent, especially when the patient starts antibiotics late. For patients who do not have other health issues and who did not contract the disease in a hospital, the death rate ranges between 5 percent and 30 percent.
Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease is when two or more people who were in the same environment contract the illness. Legionnaires disease outbreaks are most commonly known to occur in places like hospitals, hotels, and cruise ships. The bacteria Legionella is allowed to grow in the stagnant water of air conditioning and plumbing systems of these places, and then that contaminated water spreads in the form of sprays, mists, or vapors around hot tubs, showers, and air conditioning ducts. People inhale those vapors, and they become infected.
Who Is Responsible?
Precautions and preemptive measures must be taken by hospitals, hotels, cruise ships, and other large-scale facilities to protect the people who spend time in them. This means proper and timely cleaning and monitoring of the water in tanks and pipes. With recommended levels of chlorine or other agents like Ozone, the bacteria will not survive. When an outbreak occurs due to negligence on the part of the establishment and people become infected or ill and they die, the establishment can be found liable in a Legionnaires disease wrongful death claim.
A Wrongful Death Claim
If, for example, a hotel pool and hot tub maintenance regimen does not include sufficient amounts of cleaners and chemicals or frequent testing and monitoring, the likelihood of bacterial growth increases, which can then cause a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. In cases like this, the surviving relatives of victims who have died from the illness can make wrongful death claims against the hotel. Every state sets guidelines and limits for wrongful death cases. Although winning a Legionnaires disease lawsuit involving wrongful death will not compensate for the death of a loved one, the monetary award can assist a family that is trying to cope financially and psychologically from that loss.