WBEZ reporters discuss ‘dramatic testimonies’ in investigation of Legionnaires’ deaths | St. Louis Public Radio

WBEZ reporters discuss ‘dramatic testimonies’ in investigation of Legionnaires’ deaths

Dec 19, 2017

Since the summer of 2015, a dozen people have died at a state operated veteran’s home in Quincy, Illinois from Legionnaires’ Disease – and dozens more sickened.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Chicago public radio station WBEZ reporters Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney about their investigation into the Legionnaires’ deaths at the Veteran's Home in Quincy, Illinois.

The WBEZ investigation exposes how veterans died at the facility after being sickened by Legionnaires’ Disease, which is a waterborne illness. Their families claim the veterans weren’t diagnosed nor given antibiotics quickly enough to fend off what typically is a treatable form of waterborne pneumonia.

The disease has surfaced at least three times at the facility – most recently this past fall. Eleven families are now suing the state of Illinois for negligence. The families claim that those infected weren’t properly tested for the disease and those who were diagnosed only received Tylenol.

“It was dramatic, dramatic testimonies from these families,” McKinney said in describing the conditions the veterans and their families faced.

McKinney said the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified the facility’s pipes as the source of the germ. The building still has the original plumbing since its opening in 1886.

Since WBEZ aired its investigation last week, Arnold said the state’s attorney general denied negligence, but others have called on the state to close the facility.

“We have a lot of questions still,” Arnold said. “Why weren’t families told sooner about the initial outbreak? And more frustratingly, why does this keep happening?”

Listen for the full discussion: 


St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.