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Harlem Resident, Who Was Sickened during Harlem Hospital’s August 2021 Legionnaires’ Outbreak, Files First Legal Claim Against NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
October 21, 2021
Analysis by NYC Health Department’s Lab Found Disease Originated from the Hospital’s Cooling Towers
Ronald J. Katter, of The Katter Law Firm, who successfully represented more than two dozen people with related injuries in the Bronx 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, has announced that he has filed a Notice of Claim against the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation on behalf of a Harlem resident who contracted Legionnaires’ disease this past August. Analysis by the New York City Department of Health’s Public Health Laboratory found that the outbreak originated from Harlem Hospital’s cooling towers.
After August 9, 2021, at least 18 people who lived in the 10037 and 10039 ZIP codes contracted Legionnaires’ disease and were hospitalized. Many were in the high-risk group of people with compromised immune systems or with respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported.
“It is imperative that anyone who experiences Legionnaires’ disease symptoms — which may include one or more of the following: headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, cough, gastrointestinal symptoms and confusion — seek immediate medical attention,” Mr. Katter says. “For the at-risk population, Legionnaires’ disease can be life-threatening. The public and healthcare providers should not confuse Legionnaires’ disease symptoms with COVID-19’s symptoms to ensure that the appropriate tests and treatment are provided.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which are often found in water. The bacteria can grow in warm water found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains. People contract the disease when they breathe in a mist or water vapor containing the bacteria.
“The spread of this disease could have been prevented, had Harlem Hospital followed local law and adequately maintained and cleaned its cooling towers,” Mr. Katter says. “If you were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling Legionnaires’ cases to learn your legal rights to compensation. Claims against the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation must be filed within 90 days of the occurrence.”