Sick with Legionnaires?
Call (612) 337-6126
Elliot Olsen is a nationally known Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, you might have cause to file a Legionnares lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is investigating.
Health officials said two patients with the disease were exposed while at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, and Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, was reported in the water system.
The IDPH said the general public is not at risk, and the investigation is confined to the hospital, which is located at 2525 South Michigan Avenue on the city’s Near South Side.
Investigators for both the IDPH and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) have collected environmental samples for laboratory testing, according to an IDPH news release.
Hospital officials said that they have started remediation efforts, including: flushing the water system, altering and/or replacing water fixtures, and installing filters on sinks to eradicate the spread of the disease.
In addition, officials said that the hospital’s staff is conducting active surveillance of patients to identify other potential cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially deadly type of pneumonia.
Another sad headine
Mercy Hospital was also in the news last November, when a mass shooting took place at the hospital on Nov. 19. Four people were killed in that incident: a Chicago police officer, a pharmacy resident, an emergency surgeon who was the shooter’s ex-fiancee, and the shooter, who shot himself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there are an estimated 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) yearly in the United States. However, only 20 percent (5,000) of those cases are reported because of its nonspecific symptoms.
In addition, approximately one in 10 patients infected with Legionnaires’ disease – also called legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – will die from the infection.
After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, if one is not already in the hospital, then hospitalization is usually necessary. In the most severe cases, Legionnaires complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but people at the highest risk of infection include:
- anyone 50 or older
- people with a chronic lung disease or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, most commonly bronchitis or emphysema)
- smokers, either current or former
- anyone with a compromised immune system, such as those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, or HIV infection
- organ-transplant recipients
- anyone on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids
The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease look like other forms of pneumonia or even flu (influenza), which is why so many cases go unreported. Early symptoms can include the following:
- fever (potentially 104 degrees or higher)
- appetite loss
- muscle pains.
After the first few days, symptoms can worsen to include:
- chest pain when breathing (called pleuritic chest pain or pleurisy, which is caused by inflamed lungs)
- shortness of breath, called dyspnea.
- mental confusion and agitation
- coughing, which can produce mucus and blood
- diarrhea, nausea and vomiting (about one-third of all cases produce gastrointestinal problems).
Legionella bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments. Outbreaks have been linked to numerous sources, such as:
- water systems, such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- equipment used in physical therapy
- hot tubs and whirlpools
- large plumbing systems
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- showers and faucets
- swimming pools
- mist machines and hand-held sprayers
- decorative fountains
- cooling towers of air conditioning systems.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: