Elliot Olsen is a nationally known Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at Mount Carmel East Hospital, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease were diagnosed in people who received treatment at Mount Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, marking the second such outbreak this year for the Mount Carmel Health System (MCHS).

Mount Carmel East, which is on the east side of Columbus (6001 East Broad Street), is the largest hospital in the MCHS network, and the fourth-largest hospital in central Ohio.

A statement by MCHS officials read: “We’ve taken several steps to protect our patients, staff, and visitors, including implementing extensive water restrictions throughout the hospital. We are running additional tests on water sources throughout the hospital, and our entire water supply is undergoing hyperchlorination. We’re confident that we can safely maintain full services of the hospital while we study this situation.”

Hospital officials said they are working with Columbus Public Health (CPH), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify the source of Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Mount Carmel East outbreak:
Third issue for MCHS in 2019

This is the third Legionella issue to affect the Mount Carmel Health System this year.

The first, announced May 31, occurred at Mount Carmel Grove City in suburban Columbus. Franklin County Public Health officials said 16 hospital patients were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, and one of them died of their illness. The outbreak occurred a little more than a month after the $361 million hospital opened April 28.

At that time, Trinity Health – MCHS’s Michigan-based parent company – found Legionella in the facility’s hot water system, and officials said the contamination was the result of “inadequate disinfection.” Trinity Health admitted it failed to adequately re-test and re-clean the water supply on particular floors before Mount Carmel Grove City opened.

In August, the MCHS’s second battle with Legionella occurred at the Mount Carmel College of Nursing. Officials said elevated levels of Legionella were detected in the water supply at Marian Hall on the College’s Franklinton campus. Construction disrupted the building’s water supply, and subsequent water tests uncovered the presence of bacteria. No illnesses were reported.

Mount Carmel East reports two Legionnaires cases

Mount Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, reported two Legionnaires’ disease cases – the second Legionnaires outbreak in the Mount Carmel Health System in 2019.

Mount Carmel East outbreak:
Legionnaires symptoms

MCHS officials said that while the risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease is low for most people, anyone with a chronic, underlying condition is at increased risk. Still, out of an abundance of caution, if you are or were a patient at Mount Carmel East, an employee of, or recent visitor to the hospital and are feeling flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms, you should seek immediate care from your health-care provider.

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms often can be mistaken for those of the flu, and they usually develop two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella. Initial symptoms include:

  • severe headaches
  • muscle aches
  • fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and chills.

By Day 2 or Day 3, symptoms often worsen to include:

  • coughing, which can produce mucus or blood
  • shortness of breath (or dyspnea)
  • chest pains (or pleuritic chest pains, pleurisy or pleuritis)
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.)
  • mental changes, most commonly confusion.

Mount Carmel East outbreak:
High-risk demographics

For Legionnaires’ disease to be classified correctly, specific testing and diagnosis must be done from a Legionnaires standpoint, and those tests are often not ordered. It’s not required for physicians to order Legionella-specific testing when a patient presents with pneumonia.

People most susceptible to infection include:

  • anyone with a chronic lung condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD, most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
  • organ-transplant recipients
  • anyone on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids
  • alcoholics.

The list also includes anyone with an immune system that has been compromised by:

  • frequent and recurrent pneumonia, meningitis, or infections that affect the sinuses, ears, or skin
  • organ inflammation and infection
  • blood disorders, such as anemia
  • digestive problems, such as cramping, appetite loss, diarrhea, and nausea
  • delayed growth and development.

Mount Carmel East outbreak:
More on Legionnaires

  • Legionellosis is the collective term for the two diseases caused by Legionella bacteria: Legionnaires’ disease, which is also known as Legionella pneumonia, and Pontiac fever, a less-severe illness that does not affect the lungs.
  • After Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed, hospitalization is almost always necessary. In the most severe cases, complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.
  • The CDC reports that Legionnaires’ disease often is underreported because the vague systems cause it to be overlooked or undiagnosed.
  • A 2015 study by the CDC stated that “75 percent of (Legionnaires’ disease) acquired in health-care settings could be prevented with better water management.”

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