Over the weekend, it was announced that seven patients at the Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital that opened on April 28 of this year have been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease. Legionnaire’s Disease is a potentially deadly form of bacterial pneumonia that often spreads in contaminated water systems. The Ohio Department of Health is investigating the outbreak and has ordered Mount Carmel Health System to “take immediate action to contain a Legionnaire’s outbreak”.
The news that a brand new hospital which opened with much fan fair is now the site of a Legionnaire’s outbreak is shocking. Of the patients diagnosed to date, one was admitted as early as April 29, the day after the Grove City hospital opened. The question must be asked, “How could this happen?” Hopefully, the Ohio Department of Health, as well as patients and their families affected by this outbreak, will work to reveal what happened so that hopefully the outbreak can be contained and prevented from happening again.
Legionnaire’s Disease outbreaks most commonly occur in buildings with complex water systems that include cooling towers and large hot water tanks. Thus, hotels, hospitals, and cruise ships are often most at risk. However, outbreaks usually occur in much older facilities. They do not typically occur in brand new facilities that have just opened. One has to wonder whether Mount Carmel’s rush to open the facility which had been plagued with construction delays and cost overrun caused it to bypass safety guidelines and inspection requirements. While hard to imagine, the fact that the Mount Carmel System is already dealing with a major catastrophe that occurred at Mount Carmel West due to the failure to follow basic patient safety guidelines is a red flag that this may have occurred again.
Hopefully, the number of patients who contracted Legionnaire’s Disease remains at seven, and the death toll remains at one. However, it is far too early to know whether this best-case scenario will occur, since the patients diagnosed with the disease were reportedly admitted between April 29 and May 20, 2019. Sadly, there may be many more patients, as well as Mount Carmel staff members, who may be at risk. The attorneys and staff at Rourke & Blumenthal urge Mount Carmel to take all necessary steps at its Grove City hospital to protect its patients and employees to make sure that this outbreak is brought under control and ended.
Below are the links to the media reports on this matter:
Mount Carmel confirms 1 death after outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease - The Columbus Dispatch
Seven patients treated for Legionnaires’ disease at new Mount Carmel Grove City hospital - The Columbus Dispatch
Three more Legionnaires’ cases reported at Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital - The Columbus Dispatch