Patients and family members of patients who contracted the Legionella bacteria while at UAB’s cancer treatment center have retained the Birmingham law firm of Morris, Haynes, Hornsby, Wheeles, and Knowles. Todd Wheeles, a partner in the firm confirmed the representation.
“We have been retained by a number of the victims of the recent Legionella outbreak at UAB. Legionnaires’ Disease is a very serious and often fatal infection. But it is preventable. It is most dangerous to those with diminished immune systems. Currently, we do not know how many people have been tragically affected by this outbreak. Legionella outbreaks should be considered public health emergencies, especially when the source is an institutional water system. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc., specifically address the Recommended Treatment of Potable Water Systems in ASHRAE Guideline 12-2000. Proper adherence to the ASHRAE guidelines, as it relates to ‘other high-risk situations’ should have properly prevented the Legionella bacteria to multiply to a level that these patients were infected, made sick and even (on at least 2 occasions) died.”
“Other high-risk situations” references hospital facilities where patients undergo organ transplants or patients whose immune system is suppressed by certain drugs used to treat underlying medical conditions.
Mr. Wheeles has extensive experience litigating legionella cases, including a verdict in Calhoun County of $4.5 million. He wants the public to demand more accountability from its institutions, especially hospitals.