There has been flurry of lawsuits against the federal government as a result of a 2011 Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at the University Drive location in Oakland, Pennsylvania.
Reverend Gerald Caskey is the latest to file suit alleging that he contracted the disease while visiting the hospital to pick up kidney medication. According to the lawsuit, while at the hospital Mr. Caskey had something to eat while waiting for his prescription to be filled, and drank from the water fountains while taking his medications.
Just over a week later, he became sick, went to the hospital and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease.
This case is unusual in that Mr. Caskey was not a patient at the hospital in the weeks prior to contracting the disease. Of course, the VA seizes this point, and argues that his exposure was too brief to be the cause of his Legionnaires’ disease.
But, regardless of the merits of the VA’s arguments, this is another example of where VA officials were slow to address the problem of Legionella bacteria in the hospital’s water system.
So far, about 22 patients have been infected with Legionnaires’ Disease at VA facilities in Oakland, PA. Several lawsuits have bene filed against the federal government, and some have settled.
At least six of those folks who were infected have died.