Medical tests inconclusive on ill workers at Pittsburgh VA facility
By Adam Smeltz
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Medical tests proved inconclusive for several VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System workers who fell ill around the time of a fatal Legionnaires' outbreak in the hospitals, a union spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
Three workers in the VA hospital in Oakland contracted pneumonia and a fourth reported respiratory problems, Kathi Dahl, president of Local 2028 of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in December. She said she referred them for tests to determine whether they developed the ailments within the hospital, the site of the Legionnaires' outbreak that was announced in November.
None of the workers could be conclusively diagnosed with Legionnaires', said Chelsea Bland, an AFGE spokeswoman in Washington.
Bland said the ambiguous outcome might have stemmed in part from the timing of the tests. All the workers recovered and returned to work, according to the union.
Other tests found five people contracted Legionnaires' disease, a waterborne form of pneumonia, inside the Pittsburgh VA system. One patient died from the disease, the Allegheny County Health Department said.
The VA made the outbreak public on Nov. 16, suggesting a water-treatment system might not have been as effective as once thought. It discovered Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires', in tap water in the Oakland hospital and at its H.J. Heinz Campus in O'Hara.
Both underwent temporary water restrictions and switched to new treatment systems in late 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the VA Office of Inspector General are investigating the matter.
A U.S. House subcommittee on veterans' affairs scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning in Washington.
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Web of surveillance videos helps ensnare suspect in East Liberty slayings
- Donor name to be stripped from Penn Hills library
- Qualifications of Peduto nominee for building inspection chief come up short
- Suspect in East Liberty slayings may be part of murder-for-hire case
- FirstEnergy last to get smart meter OK
- Newsmaker: Joseph Bonadio
- On Pittsburgh visit, ambassador says $15B in aid to Ukraine shows support
- State Superior Court denies ex-Sen. Jane Orie’s corruption appeal
- Western Pa.’s rivers an ‘untapped resource,’ Boston company says
- PennDOT cash eases road repair pain in Lawrence County
- CCAC to offer early retirement incentives