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Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacteria known as Legionella that is often found in water.  People may contract this disease if they breathe in mist or vapor, or drink water containing Legionella bacteria.  The most common result of an infection is acute pneumonia.   

Legionnaires' disease is not contagious and has a 2 to 14 day incubation period.  Symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and chills.  Legionnaires' disease is treated with antibiotics and can be fatal especially in the elderly.

Legionella bacteria often develops and grows in warm water environments including hot water tanks, cooling towers, plumbing systems, air conditioning systems, and hot tubs. 

Legionnaires' disease outbreaks may occur at long-term care facilities including nursing homes or assisted living facilities.  The Howard County Health Department issued a Media Release dated November 8, 2011 reporting the recent death of an elderly male resident of the Lighthouse Senior Living Facility in Ellicott City, Maryland due to Legionnaires' disease.

According to the Howard County Health Officer Dr. Peter Beilenson, there does not appear to be any other cases among residents at this time.  It is reported further that the Howard County Health Department is working in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ("DHMH") and Lighthouse Senior Living to assure the safety of other residents at the facility and to ensure that appropriate remediation measures occur.   

Please feel free to contact the lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if a family member or loved one has contracted Legionnaire's disease secondary to nursing home and/or assisted living facility exposure. 

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Pursuant to Maryland law, an assisted living program may not provide services to individuals who at the time of initial admission (as established by the initial assessment) would require: (1) more than intermittent nursing care; (2) treatment of stage 3 or stage 4 ulcers; (3) ventilator services; (4) skilled monitoring, testing, and aggressive adjustment of medications and treatments where there is the presence of, or risk for, a fluctuating acute condition; (5) monitoring of a chronic medical condition that is not controllable through readily available medications and treatments; or (6) treatment for a disease or condition which requires more than contact isolation.  See COMAR 

This regulation requires assisted living facilities to request and obtain a resident specific waiver of care for a resident who sustains a stage 3 or stage 4 pressure ulcer while in the facility.

A pressure ulcer is a bed sore caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin that comes from lying in the same position too long and is associated with pain.    Assisted living residents may experience pressure from their bed and/or chair to certain points on their skin preventing the blood from flowing into those points.  Because the blood is not allowed to flow into those points, the skin, deprived of nutrients and oxygen, can become injured and susceptible to infection. 

Unfortunately, once a bed sore has progressed to stage 3 and stage 4, it is difficult to achieve healing and avoid painful and life-threatening complications.  These patients may develop osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and sepsis ultimately resulting in death. 

Please feel free to contact the nursing home/assisted living neglect lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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