Woman files lawsuit after allegedly contracting Legionnaires' disease at Laughlin hotel

UPDATE JULY 26: A Chicago woman has filed a lawsuit after her lawyer says she contracted Legionnaires' disease at Harrah's Laughlin this winter. 

Through Las Vegas-based Wetherall Group, Theresa Coffey, a 68 year-old resident of Chicago, Illinois, has filed suit in Clark County District Court against Harrah’s Laughlin, LLC, and its parent company, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, alleging that these companies’ negligence led to her contraction of Legionnaires’ Disease during a visit to the Harrah’s Laughlin Casino & Hotel between Feb. 28 to March 4 of this year. 

Coffey, a frequent guest of Harrah’s Laughlin, alleges she fell ill with within days after her stay at Harrah’s Laughlin, and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease during a five-week hospital stay that followed.  

Her lawyer states Coffey was hospitalized with Legionella pneumonia, severe sepsis and shock, acute respiratory failure, kidney injury and heart failure, requiring both intubation and ventilation. She continues to have weakness, fatigue, faintness and kidney impairment.  Her medical bills exceed $450,000, according to her lawyer.

ORIGINAL STORY

The Southern Nevada Health District is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in guests who stayed separately at Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino in Laughlin in November 2017 and March 2018. 

The hotel is assisting in the investigation, and the Health District is working with the property to notify current and past guests dating back to Oct. 15, 2017. 

Guests who stayed at Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino during this timeframe and experienced symptoms up to 14 days after their stay can report their illness to the Health District using a survey posted on its website.

The hotel-casino was notified in mid-June. The CDC considers a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak is occurring when there are two or more cases associated with the same facility in a 12-month period. 

The Health District conducted an environmental health assessment of the facility’s water system after receiving the initial illness report. Following notification of the second case, the property arranged for environmental testing of its water system. Facility testing results did indicate the presence of Legionella bacteria. The hotel has begun disinfection of the affected water system and will continue to implement remediation procedures, including chlorine disinfection. The hotel has also implemented proactive water management efforts.

The Health District will conduct additional water sampling of the hotel’s water system to determine if Legionella are still present in the system. The Health District will continue to work with the facility and conduct follow-up sampling to ensure its remediation efforts are effective. 

Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling aerosol droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Sources of the aerosol can include showers, hot tubs, faucets, cooling towers, misters, and decorative fountains. Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Generally, Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person-to-person; however, this might be possible under rare circumstances. Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick.

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