It is fair to say that most people who enter a hospital for treatment of a condition do not expect to contract a serious disease. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to a patient at the Veterans Affairs hospital located in Pittsburgh. The man died from Legionnaires’ disease after contracting it at the facility. The 87-year-old man was one of multiple people who contracted the disease during an outbreak at the facility over the course of 2011 and 2012. Four other veterans also died as a result of the disease and 17 others became ill.
The man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, regarding the matter. In it, it is alleged that mistakes on the part of workers in the following departments led to the spread of Legionnaires’:
- Medical staff
- Infectious disease
In addition to the wrongful death claim, the lawsuit also makes civil rights and negligence claims. The family is seeking a total of $8 million in damages for the man’s death and the pain the man suffered. Shortly before he died the man was quite distraught and said he was being poisoned. He also feared those he loved would be poisoned as well.
While we don’t want to think about it, there are times when medical professionals charged with looking out for the best interest of patients, fail in that regard. When that happens, things such as this could happen. While nothing can undo that harm, it is possible that a medical malpractice lawsuit may help to ease the pain and sorrow caused by the incident.
How this case will be resolved remains to be seen. We will provide updates on them as they become available.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Legionnaires' victim's family sues Pittsburgh VA,” Sean D. Hamill, Aug. 2, 2013