$1.2 Million Dollars Compensation for Legionnaires Disease Death

    Febuary 2010

Sharron Morris sued Ohio

State Medical Center after her

husband, David, died after

contracting Legionnaires’

disease in Doan Hall.

Sharron Morris didn’t want another family to watch a loved one die

after contracting Legionnaires’ disease from drinking water.

So she felt some satisfaction this week when Ohio State University

Medical Center agreed to settle a lawsuit she’d filed over the death of

her husband.

David Morris died in 2007, five months after he drank water from an

OSU Medical Center faucet and came down with the disease.

“The important thing is getting it out into the community to let them

know,” Mrs. Morris said yesterday. “It was the only way I could get

anyone to do anything.”

Ohio State agreed on Thursday to pay Mrs. Morris $1.2 million.

Mr. Morris, 66, of Lima, came down with Legionnaires’ six days after

he drank tap water on the ninth floor of the medical center’s Doan

Hall. His leukemia was in remission, and he was having an outpatient

procedure when he drank the water to wash down medication.

Mrs. Morris’ complaint says that nurses and other staff members on

the ninth floor knew that the water could contain the bacteria that

causes Legionnaires’ but had been instructed not to tell patients to not

drink the water.

Instead, staff members regularly gave patients bottled water and ice

made from bottled water.

David Shroyer, Mrs. Morris’ attorney, said signs warning that the

water should not be consumed were added to the faucets after Mr.

Morris got sick.

He said he doesn’t know whether anyone else contracted

Legionnaires’ from the water and doesn’t know whether the threat

remains at Doan Hall.

OSU Medical Center spokesman David Crawford issued a statement saying that Ohio State believes the

  OSU pays $1.2 million in man’s Legionnaires’ death | The Columbus Dispatch http://www.dis10 8:18 AM

©2010, The Cs fair and adequately compensates the family for the loss of their loved one,” and that “the

risk of contracting the disease is extremely low due to the safeguards we have in place.”

Dr. Andrew Thomas, associate medical director at OSU, said the university installed special filters on

some sinks and ice machines in the hospital in March 2007 to protect from Legionella bacteria, which is a

common risk in older buildings with big plumbing systems.

“It’s hard to eradicate,” Thomas said. He said the medical center also is planning to add a system that

would inject chlorine gas into the water to reduce the risk of the bacteria.

He said it is difficult to determine where anyone picks up the bacteria. Two other OSU patients have had

Legionnaires’ since Mr. Morris and possibly contracted it in the hospital. Both of them died of other

medical problems, he said.

Medical Center employees who were deposed in the Morris case said that they knew it was not OK to

drink the water on the ninth floor because Legionella was in the water. But although the staff gave patients

bottled water, it did not warn them about drinking the tap water, employees testified.

Thomas said nurses now instruct patients not to drink the tap water.

kgray@ s $1.2 million in man’s Legionnaires’ death | The Columbus Dispatch http://w14/2010 8:18 AM