A $100 million lawsuit has been filed against McLaren Flint hospital and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on behalf of four patients who allegedly contracted Legionnaires’ disease while being treated at the facility.
The plaintiffs in the case said they contracted the bacterial pneumonia shortly after being treated at McLaren Flint between 2014 and 2015. The city of Flint in mid-2014 changed its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, whose water is now understood to be so corrosive that it leached unsafe levels of lead from the city’s water pipes.
They said Michigan’s health department didn’t alert the public soon enough about the hospital’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, and the hospital failed to protect its patients against the bacteria.
The case was filed in Genesee County Circuit Court, which has jurisdiction over Flint. The hospital, part of 10-hospital McLaren Health Care Corp., declined to comment because of the pending litigation, but Don Kooy, president of the facility, previously said he was surprised that state and local health officials didn’t inform the public about a Legionnaires’ outbreak in Genesee County in 2014 and 2015. A spokesman for Snyder also declined to comment.
At least 87 Legionnaires’ cases, including nine deaths, were confirmed across Genesee County over a 17-month period, though officials say it’s unclear whether the city’s water supply was to blame. An expert hired by McLaren said the change in Flint’s water quality was a “likely factor” in the increased number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the county.