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Exposure to Legionella Bacteria - Failure to Diagnose - The Stack Case

Filed under Misdiagnosis, Other Cases

The Stack Case

Mr. Stack was a Vietnam Veteran, who was honorably discharged and returned to Pittsburgh where he began working for U.S. Steel and then H. J. Hienz, for the rest of his working life until he retired.

After his retirement, Mr. Stack decided that he wanted to help his fellow Veterans, so in 2011, he visited the VA Hospital in Oakland, Pennsylvania to apply as a nonpaid volunteer. Part of his application process required Mr. Stack to undergo several medical tests, which he did over a few months time period.

On one of his trips to the VA to take tests to work as a volunteer, he stopped at the water fountain to take his medications. Unbeknownst to Mr. Stack, the water fountains were contaminated with Legionella bacteria.

For some time, the Legionella bacteria flourished in the water system at the VA Hospital, causing periodic outbreaks. Throughout 2011, the VA staff at the hospital in Oakland, Pennsylvania tried to contain the outbreaks. However, by October 2011, it became impossible and numerous individuals were being exposed and became sick from the Legionella bacteria.

Mr. Stack suffered from the Legionella bacteria to the point where he had Legionella pneumonia and was required to be hospitalized. Fortunately, for Mr. Stack, the pneumonia was caught early enough and he was given the antibiotic Levoquin, which is the antibiotic of choice for Legionella bacteria. After being hospitalized for pneumonia, fortunately, Mr. Stack was able to recover from the pneumonia, except exposure to the Legionella pneumonia, in a healthy person, leaves them with life-long problems, and the after effects are worse than a regular pneumonia, causing lethargy and tiredness for months if not years following the incident.

Mr. Stack and his wife brought a claim against the Veterans Administration and suit was filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Before discovery was taken, the parties entered into a mediation and the case was resolved.