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 Rush Oak Park Hospital, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

A fourth Chicago-area hospital is being investigated for a possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. This time, it’s Rush Oak Park Hospital, where hospital officials confirmed that two patients were diagnosed with the sometimes-deadly pneumonia-like illness.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said that the two were patients at the hospital for only part of the time when they were likely exposed to Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. One patient was admitted in mid-July, the other in May.

Legionnaires’ disease takes anywhere from two to 10 days to develop after one has been exposed to Legionella, so it’s unclear if the hospital was the source of the exposure. The IDPH, however, confirmed in a news release that “previous water samples collected by the hospital” tested positive for Legionella.

The IDPH, the Oak Park Department of Public Health, and the hospital are combining to investigate, trying first of all to pinpoint the Legionella source.

Rush Oak Park:
Chicago woes

The Rush Oak Park Hospital, which is located at 520 South Maple Avenue in Oak Park, is the fourth Chicago-area hospital in four months that is being investigated for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. The first three:

Rush Oak Park latest Chicago-area hospital linked to Legionnaires

Rush Oak Park is the fourth Chicago-area hospital in four months to be investigated for a possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Rush Oak Park:
Officials skeptical

Deb Song, a spokesperson for Rush Oak Park Hospital, said the “likelihood of them contracting [Legionnaires’] here is unlikely.”

“The source of these two cases are yet to be determined,” Song told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The health and safety of our patients, visitors, and staff is of the utmost importance. Rush Oak Park Hospital has a comprehensive water-management program that follows the highest federal standards and CDC best practices.”

Hospital officials said they routinely conduct water tests, add disinfectant to the building water, flush pipes and install filters. They are conducting surveillance to identify other potential cases and to ensure appropriate testing and clinical management of patients

Rush Oak Park:
Bacteria is inhaled

Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (vapor or mist). The bacteria thrive in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments, including but not limited to:

  • water systems of large buildings (hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, etc.)
  • physical-therapy equipment
  • air-conditioning system cooling towers
  • large plumbing systems
  • hot-water heaters and tanks
  • bathroom showers and faucets
  • swimming pools, whirlpools, hot tubs
  • mist machines, like those used in the produce sections of grocery stores
  • hand-held sprayers
  • decorative fountains.

Rush Oak Park:
A difficult diagnosis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (scientific name: Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States on a yearly basis. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific symptoms:

Hospitalization is almost always necessary after the disease has been diagnosed. In the most severe cases, complications can occur, including:

  • endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of the heart that can affect the heart’s ability to maintain adequate blood flow through the body.
  • kidney failure, which occurs when Legionella toxins damage the kidneys’ ability to eliminate waste from the blood.
  • pericarditis, which is a swelling of the pericardium, the primary membrane around the heart. This can also affect the ability of the heart to circulate blood.
  • respiratory failure, which is caused by changes to the lung tissue, or oxygen loss in the arteries that supply the lungs.
  • septic shock, which occurs when Legionella toxins enter the bloodstream and cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to the loss of adequate blood supply to the organs.

Anyone can get Legionnaires’ disease, but those at the highest risk of infection include:

  • people 50 years old or older
  • smokers, current or former
  • people with a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD, most commonly emphysema or bronchitis)
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • alcoholics.

Rush Oak Park:
Growing U.S. problem

Legionnaires’ disease is “an emerging disease in the sense that the number of recorded cases of Legionnaires in the United States continues to increase,” said Laura Cooley of the CDC’s Respiratory Diseases branch.

Cooley said she believes the increase is due to the rise in the susceptibility of the population – more and more people are on immunosuppressive medications. Too, she said, there could be more Legionella in the environment, because ever-warmer temperatures are creating the right conditions for bacterial growth.

Free consultation

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: