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Detroit attorney sues over Legionnaire's disease linked to hospital

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Attorney Geoffrey Fieger has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four people who contracted Legionnaire's disease after being treated at a Flint hospital.

One of the four subsequently died.

The lawsuit claims the state of Michigan is liable for providing unsafe water to the hospital.  It also alleges that McLaren's hospital in Flint knew its water, air and cooling systems had high levels of legionella bacteria.

McLaren officials say they have not seen the lawsuit yet. 

But an update on the McLaren Flint website says the hospital established a Water Committee in 2014 in response to safety concerns, and in 2015 the hospital installed several monochloramine secondary disinfection water treatment systems, which it called a state-of-the-art approach to controlling legionella bacteria in health facilities.

Genesee County says it had 87 cases of Legionnaire's in 2014 and 2015, 10 of them fatal, but not all the cases can be linked to people who drank Flint's water during that time.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.