Federal health officials recently issued a warning to hospitals and nursing homes across the country to be more vigilant about protecting their patients from diseases that can show up in contaminated water systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, there were over 2,800 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease in 2015, of which 553 cases occurred in a nursing homeor hospital. Sixty-six of those patients did not survive. Fortunately, the disease can be prevented if the right cleaning and sterilization methods are in place.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious, potentially fatal form of pneumonia that is caused by the Legionella bacteria. It can grow in dark, wet places like water storage tanks, water systems, or pipes. When it shows up in the pipes at hospitals and nursing homes, it can pose a serious threat to the elderly and people who are sick, as they already have weakened immune systems. Therefore, healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes must work hard to keep this dangerous bacteria from growing in places where patients could be exposed, such as showers, sinks, and bathtubs.
Healthcare Facilities Address Threat of Potential Outbreaks
According to Anne Schuchat, Acting Director of the CDC, the report focused on 2,809 cases of Legionnaire’s disease that occurred in 20 states, as well as New York City. Of those cases, 468 may have been associated with healthcare facilities and 85 were confirmed definite. Eighty percent of the definite cases were associated with long-term care facilities and 18 percent were associated with hospitals.
Schuchat commented that the CDC’s analysis has uncovered an industry-wide issue that can affect healthcare facilities around the country. Essentially, an outbreak could happen at any time if facilities are not vigilant about taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. Considering how vulnerable their patient population is if they become exposed to a dangerous bacteria like Legionella, hospitals and nursing homes need to be aware of the problem to take the steps needed to prevent it from spreading.
The Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Policy at the American Hospital Association commented on behalf of hospitals and health systems across the country, saying that they are committed to developing a safe water management program in an effort to prevent the outbreak of diseases like Legionnaires’ disease. Ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all patients must be a healthcare facility’s top priority.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Disease Outbreaks
If you or a loved one has become seriously ill after contracting a bacterial disease while in a hospital or nursing home, do not hesitate to contact the knowledgeable Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. If we determine that the healthcare facility was negligent in how they maintained their water management program, we will hold them accountable and pursue the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. Protecting your rights is our top priority. To schedule a free confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.