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Lawsuit filed on behalf of 35-year-old woman who died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease at Northwestern Hospital

Press Conference TODAY

Friday, October 18, 2019

10:30 a.m.

The Law Offices of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard

161 N. Clark St. Suite 4700

Chicago, IL 60601

CHICAGO (October 18, 2019) – The family of a 35-year-old woman who died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease at Northwestern Memorial Hospital has filed a lawsuit against the hospital. An Illinois Department of Health investigation found the woman’s death was linked to another case of Legionnaires’ disease found in a patient who was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital the same year.

On October 25, 2017, Carol Ruiz of Cypress, Texas was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital as part of the third phase of a stem cell clinical trial intended to treat patients with multiple sclerosis. On November 5, 2017, Carol contracted pneumonia and the next day, she developed a neutropenic fever. She was transferred to the MICU where her treating physician believed she had a fungal infection, despite multiple negative tests for a fungal infection and despite the fact that another stem cell patient had previously contracted legionnaires in late May of that year. Carol died at the hospital on November 12, 2017.

“During this phase of the clinical trial, a patient is without a fully functioning immune system and extremely vulnerable. A hospital that hosts these clinical trials must take necessary precautions to prevent legionella contamination,” attorney Thomas R. Mulroy III said.

Northwestern did not give the Ruiz family any explanation as to how or why Carol contracted legionnaires at the hospital. However, documents obtained from Federal, State, and local health organizations revealed that the water temperature at the hospital was being improperly maintained at a temperature that would allow legionella to grow. These documents also revealed that the silver and copper ion levels designed to prevent legionella contamination were being maintained at inadequate levels.

On Friday, October 18, 2019, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard attorneys Thomas R. Mulroy III and Elizabeth R. Olszewski filed a lawsuit against Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Cook County court on behalf of the Ruiz family.

“When the opportunity to participate in the treatment program arose, Carol and her family were hopeful and believed that Northwestern was a reputable hospital. 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,” Mr. Mulroy said. “It is imperative we hold Northwestern responsible for their negligence so this doesn’t happen to another patient.”

Attorney Thomas R. Mulroy III and Carol Ruiz’s husband and daughter will hold a press conference on Friday, October 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the Law Offices of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, 161 N. Clark Street in Chicago. Please contact the firm’s Director of Public Relations, Marcie Mangan, at (312) 372-1227 or for more information.


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