Legionella Risks

23 August 2016

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In 2012 two people contracted Legionella in a London Hospice, one of which died as a result of the illness.

After being admitted to the hospice on 9th July 2012, a man became ill and died on 17th August, just six weeks later.  It was discovered after his death that he had contracted Legionnaires’ Disease at the hospice which was the cause of his death.

However, in December 2012, an orderly at the same hospice also contracted Legionnaires’ Disease and suffered a coma for 18days.  The orderly did recover from the illness however, they should not have been in a position to become ill or be in a coma for 18days.

The hospice should have considered the potential continued impact of Legionella and regularly tested water and treated accordingly.

The death and the coma could have been avoided had the proper procedures been adhered to.  The HSE reported that Legionella risk is well known in the healthcare industry and failure to appoint a competent person to manage the risk within the hot and cold water systems can result in death.  

Legionella is entirely foreseeable and as a result of the hospices’ inaction, led a guilty plea by the Hospice and the courts recently announcing a £25,000 fine.