Latest on the legionella scare at UAB Hospital

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — More information is coming out about the cases of Legionnaires’ disease at UAB Hospital. Representatives tell WIAT 42 News they’ve thoroughly treated the contaminated water and are waiting on test results.

In the meantime, WIAT 42 News talked with a former cancer patient who was treated at UAB and UAB Hospital administration about the frightening outbreak.

Cheryl Bourn is a stage three ovarian cancer survivor. She received chemotherapy at UAB several years ago and has friends who are being treated there now. As one might expect, the legionella scare has definitely caught her attention.

“Things like that are common in a hospital. It’s not unusual for something like that to happen, and then they do happen, the epidemiologists hop on it, figure out where the source is, how to fix it, because they, of course, want their patients to be well, too,” said Bourn.

WIAT 42 News spent time working to find out how the hospital is fixing the situation – from phone interviews to in-person visits to administration.

Doctor Loring Rue was able to provide some answers. He said doctors identified 29 patients who may have been exposed and offered them antibiotics.

“We have been proactive in disclosing things to patients, but we also have to be very mindful of their privacy, so I think to just have gotten out and given one of these interviews early in the process when we didn’t know all the details as we understand them now would probably be premature,” Rue said.

For Bourn, her positive experience at UAB is enough to assure her the situation is under control. “They have top notch epidemiologists at UAB, so you know, they’ll figure it all out,” Bourn said.

Some patients infected with legionella have been sent home and others are still being treated.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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