The family of a 35-year-old woman who died after contracting Legionnaires' disease at Northwestern Memorial Hospital filed a lawsuit against the Chicago hospital on Friday.
Carol Ruiz, of Cypress, Texas, was admitted to Northwestern on Oct. 25, 2017, as part of a stem cell clinical trial for patients with multiple sclerosis, the law firm representing her family said in a statement.
Her attorneys said that on Nov. 5, 2017, Ruiz contracted pneumonia and developed a fever the following day. She was transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit, according to her attorneys, who said her physician believed she had a fungal infection despite testing negative for an infection multiple times. Ruiz died at the hospital on Nov. 1
Ruiz's family's lawyers claimed Northwestern did not give them any explanation as to how or why she contracted Legionnaires' disease, and alleged that another stem cell patient at the hospital contracted disease the previous May.
A spokesman for Northwestern Medicine declined to comment, citing the organization's policy of not commenting on pending litigation.  The attorneys alleged that documents from federal, state and local health organizations indicated that the water temperature at the hospital was "improperly maintained at a temperature that would allow legionella to grow" and that "silver and copper ion levels designed to prevent legionella contamination were being maintained at inadequate levels. "
" When the opportunity to participate in the treatment program ar ose, Carol and her family were hopeful and believed that Northwestern was a reputable hospital, "Thomas Mulroy, one of the Ruiz family's attorneys, said in a statement. "Instead, this tight-knit family lost a loving young mother and wife because of Northwestern's failure to follow all the requirements in its water program."
A spokesman for Northwestern Medicine declined to comment, citing the organization's policy of not commenting on pending litigation.