Legionnaires’ Disease was discovered in 1976 when it infected 221 people at an American Legion convention in a Philadelphia hotel, resulting in 34 fatalities. Symptoms of this bacterial form of pneumonia may include chills, fever, cough, and headaches. In addition to hotels, cases of Legionnaires’ Disease have been documented at gyms and health care facilities. Infection has even occurred to infants after water births.
Legionnaires’ Disease is spread through contaminated water containing the Legionella bacteria, not person to person. Low levels are common in lakes, streams, and ponds, which pose a very low risk. However, when concentrations of the organism grow in water systems, such as water heaters, cooling towers, or in warm, stagnant waters, the risk can increase significantly. Therefore, it is not surprising that two babies born in tap water hot tubs in Arizona had contracted the disease.
If a mother chooses this method of delivery, it is recommended that she use a disposable birthing tub rather than a hot tub, and that hot tap water is run for three minutes to clear the hose and pipes of stagnant water and sediment, reducing the risk of infection. Since there is little data to suggest that water births offer any significant benefit to the mother or the child, it may be wise to avoid them altogether.
Hospital-acquired infections, and infections that occur due to medical negligence can be serious. If you or your child has suffered an illness or injury due to negligence or improper procedures, call the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are centrally located in Red Bank, Toms River, and Edison, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey.