Chicago-Area Attorney Steve Levin Comments on Deadly Fungus Outbreak Occurring in Illinois
Both The New York Times and Chicago Tribune recently reported a drug resistant super fungus called Candida auris, is plaguing 50 percent of Chicago-area nursing homes. This is a germ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deemed an urgent threat and is tricky to kill even with hospital grade disinfectants. The fungus, which is a yeast, is most noticeably found throughout patient rooms, on the skin of patients, and on daily medical devices such as blood pressure cuffs and medication containers. The most serious cases of infection from the fungus often occur in skilled nursing facilities that care for ventilated patients, or in long-term acute care settings.
“This is unacceptable,” says attorney Steve Levin, founder and senior partner of Levin & Perconti in Chicago. “We don’t know which nursing homes have been impacted yet – and, given the lengths that long-term care facilities’ corporate owners will go to in order to keep secret the dangerous conditions and poor care behind their closed doors – we might never know.”
Why is Candida Auris Deadly?
The Chicago Tribune reported that ninety-five of the known cases in the state are in Chicago, 56 in suburban Cook County, seven in DuPage, Lake and Will counties, and another three near St. Louis. The exposure can be deadly for nursing home residents and long-term care patients because:
- The fungus is frequently resistant to drug treatment.
- Four out of five patients with Candida auris will have had an intravenous infusion and half or more have a feeding or breathing tube or urinary catheter, all common procedures used in nursing home settings.
- The super fungus can easily trigger a deadly infection for patients with compromised or weakened immune systems, like elderly nursing home residents.
- Nearly half of all patients who contract Candida auris die within 90 days.
Illinois has the second-highest number of cases of Candida auris in the nation. New York has the highest.
“Every family member who has a loved one in a nursing or other long-term care facility should immediately contact administrators and find out what steps are being taken to identify at-risk residents,” Levin continues. “And then find out how and when they intend to implement the appropriate interventions to prevent this particularly dangerous fungus.”
More Nursing Home Staff Makes for Less Resident Health Issues
The Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments are reportedly working with health care facilities to implement infection control practices including the use of gloves and gowns. Nursing homes with adequate staff, nurses and nurse aides are less likely to be stressed and rush, and can spend more time with residents to identify symptoms of infection and address bacteria spreading actions at the onset.
Meanwhile, the nursing home abuse and neglect legal team at Levin & Perconti will continue working alongside fellow advocates in demanding information now about how long-term care providers are handling the growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria and related infections.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
If you suspect risky medical practices responsible for the super fungus spread in an Illinois health care facility, or the mistreatment of a serious infection of a nursing home resident as the cause of their illness or untimely death, please contact Levin & Perconti, one of the nation’s most recognized and respected leaders in the areas of elder abuse and nursing home negligence litigation.
Our experienced team of attorneys handle cases throughout the city of Chicago, surrounding suburbs, and the entire state of Illinois, including major lawsuits involving nursing home acquired infections. Please, contact us now for a FREE consultation at 312-332-2872 in Chicago, toll-free at 1-877-374-1417, or by completing our online case evaluation form.