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Legionella bacteria discovered in California VA hospital's water fountains
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Legionella bacteria discovered in California VA hospital's water fountains

Legionella, the bacteria that can cause Legionnaire's disease, was found in the water that supplies the water fountains at Pettis VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, California, according to recent water safety tests.

What are the details?

According to a Thursday report by KCBS-TV, hospital staff cut the supply to all areas that tested positive for the bacteria and insist that there is no outbreak.

KCBS reported that the Veterans Affairs staff said just one patient room was affected, but no patients were exposed to the bacteria.

Contrary to the staff's claims, The San Bernardino Sun reported that a group of doctors and nurses filed a federal whistleblower complaint in February, alleging that the hospital was not doing enough to protect employees and patients alike from exposure to the dangerous bacteria.

According to the complaint, Legionella turned up in the facility's water tests as early as 2017.

A portion of the complaint read, "There are many employees and patients who could have been exposed from August/September to November from the sporadic growth of Legionella in the water system."

In February, the hospital sought bids for Legionella mitigation for the Loma Linda health care system, which includes the hospital as well as clinics in six other locations.

What is the hospital saying about an outbreak?

Wade J. Habshey, a spokesman for the Pettis Medical Center, told the Sun that despite Legionella being found in the water, "This does not mean there is a Legionella outbreak. The facility has a zero-tolerance policy for Legionella."

"Service chiefs are notifying staff members as appropriate" regarding the status of the water tests, according to Habshey.

KCBS reported that those they interviewed all agreed on one thing: U.S. veterans deserve better than this.

One person said, "It’s just kind of absurd how we don’t put enough of our tax dollars to the facility."

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