Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week    |   Hablamos Espanol

NYS Department of Health Looking Into Legionnaires’ Disease Deaths at Manhattan Nursing Home

Legionnaires’ disease can be dangerous, especially for the elderly. Fortunately, it is generally not very common and only affects fewer than 20,000 people per year. However, Amsterdam Nursing Home saw eight cases of Legionnaires’ disease recently, five of which have since died from the illness. Although the causes of death have not been formally determined, the Department of Health has taken necessary steps to find the source of the bacteria and stop further cases.

Legionnaires’ disease affects the lungs and can be especially dangerous to the elderly, many of which already have weakened immune and respiratory systems. If you have any questions about nursing home abuse or a potential case of neglect, reach out to Dalli & Marino, LLP today. We can help you navigate your claim and work to get you any compensation you may be owed.

What Are the Causes of Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ disease, also referred to as Pontiac fever, is a nationally notifiable disease caused by a bacterium known as Legionella. Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted by inhaling microscopic water droplets containing the bacteria, such as sprays or mist from the shower, kitchen faucet, or ventilation system. Besides inhaling infected water droplets, some people have contracted the disease after encountering contaminated potting soil while gardening.

Although the disease often attacks the lungs, it’s also known to cause wound infections in various body parts, including the heart. The most susceptible to the disease are smokers and, more specifically, senior citizens with weakened immune systems. Even though the flu-like symptoms of Pontiac fever can be remedied on their own, the elderly may need to take antibiotics to cure Legionnaires’ disease. Patients develop the following symptoms anywhere from two to ten days after exposure to the legionella bacteria:

  • Headache and sore muscles
  • Shortness of breath and chest pains
  • Cough containing thick mucus or blood
  • Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea
  • A 104℉ or higher fever, which may cause confusion

Complications associated with Legionnaires’ disease, particularly in older adults, can cause life-threatening respiratory failure, septic shock, and acute kidney failure. When untreated, the condition can have fatal ramifications. Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease can be mitigated by having a water management system that ensures water is regularly monitored and cleaned.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of Legionnaires’ disease, especially in older adults, can help prevent severe complications and shorten the recovery period. Despite entrusting the care of your loved one to the nursing home, it’s essential to look for signs of neglect. For example, if you notice the above signs of Legionnaires’ disease but the nursing home has failed to provide necessary care, you can report them to the authorities.

Should Legionnaires’ Disease Be Reported?

Nursing home caregivers must exercise reasonable care by notifying doctors of any new or alarming health conditions. Once the patient is stable, the care facility must also inform the family members. It is considered negligence if a nursing home fails to follow stipulated care home policies and report a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. That violates the duty to use reasonable care or assisted living policy.

An investigation into the Amsterdam Nursing Home deaths was launched in September, after Mt. Sinai Hospital first notified the NYS Department of Health. This was after two residents with a Legionnaires’ disease diagnosis had been sent from the facility. Mt. Sinai Hospital reported two additional cases a week later, and the nursing home reported three more.

Nursing home abuse cases can take many forms, from physical to emotional abuse, abandonment, sexual assault, and financial abuse. It’s not uncommon for assisted care facilities not to report medical cases for fear of negligence claims and consequent lawsuits. If nursing home staff had not reported the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, more lives would have been lost out of negligence and self-preservation.

Nursing Home Negligence: Failure to Notify of a Medical Condition

Any actions, or lack thereof, to meet the basic needs of an older adult raises the level of negligence among nursing home staff. You may take legal action if you can prove abuse that resulted in physical or emotional harm, or even the death of a loved one.

Your state may have a statute of limitations regarding when and how to file a lawsuit, meaning you could have a shortened time to file a personal injury claim from the date of the injury. Partnering with a lawyer can make sure you get your claim in on time so you and your loved one can get the compensation you may be owed. The burden of proof plays a pivotal role in the success of any case. Your lawyer can avail various resources to help establish liability and present much-needed evidence that supports your claims.

New York’s Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Dalli & Marino, LLP Can Help

Claims involving elder abuse or negligence require showing that the nursing home breached a duty of care owed to your loved one. It is imperative to demonstrate that the staff acted in ways nurses in their position should not, which then resulted in harm.

If you believe your family member is in immediate danger because of neglect at a New York nursing home, Dalli & Marino, LLP can help you start investigating your claim. We have many years of combined experience in handling nursing home misconduct, and we can use our resources to collect evidence so you can get the compensation you may be owed. Our lawyers also speak Spanish so we help a wider range of clients. Call us at (888) 465-8790 or complete our online contact form to schedule a comprehensive consultation today.

3010 Eastchester Rd, Bronx, NY 10469

66-50 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY 11385