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Leigh Day obtains settlement for client affected by Legionnaires' disease

The complex claims team at law firm Leigh Day has recently obtained compensation for a client diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease after a trip to Romania.

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15 January 2007

Members of Leigh Day's complex claims department have recently negotiated a significant settlement with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a claimant diagnosed with Legionnaires disease.

The Claimant's case

In July and August 2002 our client was the guest of the British Ambassador to Romania in Bucharest. She arrived in Romania on 26th July, and stayed in an apartment leased by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for occupation by Embassy staff for a total of two nights. She returned to the United Kingdom on 2nd August 2002.

Tests carried out on the Embassy apartment by the Public Health Laboratory Services (PHLS, now the Health Protection Agency, HPA) indicated that Legionella bacteria was present in the Embassy in water tanks within the apartment block.

On her return to the UK, the claimant became seriously ill and was admitted to hospital. She was treated for serious pneumonia, and spent some time in intensive care. After investigation by medical staff, she was diagnosed as suffering from Legionnaires' disease.

The claimant's condition continued to fluctuate and she required treatment for her kidneys, which had suffered partial failure. Her condition meant that she required extensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy, including instruction on re-learning walking and talking skills.

What is Legionnaires Disease?

Legionnaires' disease is caused by the bacterium called Legionella pneumophila. The most common way for Legionnaires' disease to be transmitted is by inhalation of water droplets from contaminated water. Common sources of contaminated water build-up can include cooling towers of air conditioning systems, communal whirlpools, fountains and ponds, and showers where the bacterium is usually found in the showerhead.

Legionnaires' disease can cause a flu-like illness with fever, headache, aching musclea and a dry cough. Other symptoms include shortness of breath and pneumonia.

Our client's case was settled after negotiations with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and will enable her to adapt her home and meet any future care costs.



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