The elderly and veterans are valuable members of our society. They have contributed a lifetime to the area and years of service and defense to the country and our liberties. For that reason, they need to be protected and cared for, as they have done for us. Oftentimes, these individuals have conditions that require a great amount of care in which they no longer live independently but in cared facilities. Because they are under the care of a facility, they are owed a legal duty of care to be protected and kept safe from harm and neglect.
According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, two residents of an Illinois veterans’ home recently died of Legionnaires’ Disease. The home is located in Quincy, Illinois – approximately 300 miles southwest of Chicago. The two residents were among 23 others who had been diagnosed with the disease at this facility.
For those unfamiliar, Legionnaires’ Disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It consists of lung inflammation usually caused by an infection. It is not transmitted from person to person, and many people contract the disease by inhaling the Legionella bacteria.
This instance is now considered so severe that the Adams County Health Department Director of Clinical and Environmental Services has iterated that the state health department is recommending that elderly people, anyone sick, and anyone who has immunity problems should not visit this home. These people would be extremely vulnerable to the disease and could easily catch it, as the Legionella bacteria is now very prevalent. The official also stated that normally this bacteria is found in such small doses that people do not become ill. However, when a cluster of people become ill, there is likely one source point. The health department is confident the disease is contained to this single veterans’ home.
Since pneumonia can often be detected in its early stages and treated, multitude of instances of Legionnaires’ Diseases calls to question the degree of negligence that was at play in this facility to allow pneumonia to progress to this degree in so many people. Secondly, since the disease cannot be passed from person to person, yet this high number of people contracted it, signifies how prevalent the Legionella bacteria must be in this facility and ergo how unsanitary and unclean it must be. For the bacteria to be this rampant in a home, there must be a serious amount of negligence. At the first signs of infection and the initial knowledge of the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease, this facility should have gone through some serious cleaning and sanitation to prevent the risk and spread. If proper attention and diligence were dedicated to this situation, the bacteria could have remained at the small dose that does not cause illness or even completely eradicated and cleansed from the facility all together.
Our attorneys care about the well-being and safety of our elderly and veterans. It is unfortunate and distressing when these beloved members of our community are neglected and made to be ill, especially in instances where it could be entirely preventable with proper diligence and safety. We should be able to trust that when our seniors are living in a care facility that they will be attended to and taken care of, not put in danger.