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Houston Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Family Says Woman Contracted Legionnaires Disease at Chicago Hospital

Family Says Woman Contracted Legionnaires Disease at Chicago Hospital


A Texas family is suing for wrongful death after they say their loved one contracted Legionnaires’ disease from another patient at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The family believes that her death was preventable and alleges that she caught the disease from another patient on the same floor.

Thirty-five-year-old Carol Ruiz was admitted to Northwestern Memorial in 2017. She was there for a clinical trial to help patients with multiple sclerosis. As part of the treatment, doctors suppressed her immune system. One month later, the woman was dead having contracted Legionnaires’ disease.

Examining the Hospital’s Negligence 

The family contends that Carol Ruiz should have never been placed on the same floor as other patients with communicable diseases such as Legionnaires. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection. Older adults and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to the disease. Left untreated, the disease can often be fatal as patients have temperature spikes that can go as high as 104 °F.

Worse still, this wasn’t the first time a person had caught Legionnaires at the Chicago hospital. Five months prior, another patient contracted the illness. The Illinois Department of Public Health connected the two cases in 2017.

According to an email from the Chicago Department of Health, legionella bacteria was found in a sink in Carol Ruiz’s hospital room. The email also stated that water temperatures and copper levels were too low. Both can prevent the spread of legionella.

Examining the Plaintiff’s Lawsuit

This medical malpractice lawsuit appears on the surface to be airtight. The hospital not only knew that there was a risk of legionella infection, but they allowed patients with compromised immune systems into rooms located near or by patients with active infections. If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s because it doesn’t make sense at all.

In this case, the hospital put vulnerable patients at unnecessary risk by housing them near individuals with serious and potentially deadly infections.

The family of the deceased patient will sue for damages related to their own grief and suffering along with their loved one’s medical expenses and her lost wages. They will also be able to recover monies related to her burial expenses and pain and suffering. Her husband will be able to sue for lack of consortium and her children will be able to sue for their own grief.

Additionally, since the hospital’s negligence was so obvious and they knew there was an infection risk prior to bringing the patient into the room, the family may be able to allege gross negligence. This means that the hospital’s conduct was so egregious and careless, that they deserve to be punished for allowing it to happen.

Talk to a Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If a substandard quality of care has increased your injuries or resulted in a loved one’s death, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can help you hold the negligent hospital or doctor responsible for your suffering. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.



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