Daniel M. Dellinger, the American Legion National Commander, has stated that he was “highly disappointed” by recent news that the top physician in the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System encouraged doctors to give high-risk patients bottled water to use, but did not notify patients of the alarming level of Legionella bacteria in the water system.
“I was not happy to hear that,” said Mr. Dellinger. “We try to be the watchdog for the VA. We are partners. We want to see everybody get the best care possible, but they have to have more accountability.”
Legionella bacteria in the VA Pittsburgh water system caused an outbreak resulting in at least 22 Legionnaires’ disease illnesses and five patient deaths. The outbreak began in February 2011, but the Pittsburgh VA did not notify the public or patients until November 2012.
As a result of the devastating outbreak, the VA is making a more concerted effort in maintaining its water systems in all facilities in the VA Healthcare System.
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