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Elliot Olsen is a nationally prominent Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member were sickened by Legionnaires’ disease at Spectrum Health Pennock, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

One of two patients has died after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at Spectrum Health Pennock hospital in Hastings, Michigan.

Hospital officials tested several locations around the hospital after the two patients were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, and test results were positive for Legionella bacteria, which causes the disease.

The patient who died was a 92-year-old man who had been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in November. He was treated for the disease, and then discharged to a rehab center, where he died from “chronic aspiration pneumonia.”

Spectrum Health Pennock officials said they’re unsure if he contracted Legionnaires’ disease from the hospital’s water supply. They also couldn’t say if the disease killed him because his case was “very complex,” and he had other health issues.

Spectrum Health Pennock: One dead from Legionnaires

One of two patients died after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at Spectrum Health Pennock hospital in Hastings, Michigan. The hospital found Legionella in its water system.

Spectrum Health Pennock: questions

The second patient who contracted Legionnaires’ disease was discharged from the hospital and has since recovered. No other information has been released on that patient.

Dr. J. Daniel Woodall, medical director of Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD), said it’s “not possible to determine if (the death) was linked to Legionnaires’ disease. … We cannot correlate the two cases of Legionnaires’ disease and the bacteria in the water.”

Spectrum Health Pennock: investigation

Hospital officials said they have implemented numerous safety precautions, including providing alternative water sources, installing a water filtration system, and testing more patients for the disease.

“Patient safety, the safety of our visitors, and the safety of our staff is absolutely the most important thing to us at Spectrum Health,” said Leslie Jurecko, the vice president of quality, safety and experience at Spectrum Health System.

Hospital officials said they are working with local and state health departments and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for legionellosis risk management.

Spectrum Health Pennock: warning

Spectrum Health Pennock: difficult diagnosis

In addition to legionellosis, Legionnaires’ disease is also called Legionella pneumonia. It is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection that, if not diagnosed early, can lead to severe complications.

According to the CDC, about 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) happen in the U.S. annually. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific symptoms.

In addition, approximately 10 percent of those who contract Legionnaires’ disease will die from the infection.

Spectrum Health Pennock: contraction

Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (vapor or mist). The bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments:

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

Although Legionnaires’ disease is primarily known as a lung infection, it can cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body.

Spectrum Health Pennock: high risk

Anyone can contract Legionella and become sick from the bacteria, but people who are the most susceptible to infection include:

  • anyone 50 or older
  • anyone with a chronic lung disease or COPD (most commonly, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • smokers, current or former
  • anyone with a weakened immune system
  • organ-transplant recipients
  • anyone on a specific drug protocol, such as corticosteroids
  • alcoholics.

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: