Welcome!

News Feed Item

Family Of Man Who Died From Legionnaires' Disease At Pittsburgh VA Hospital Speaks Out, Announces Intention To File Suit

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A family from Hampton Township, a Pittsburgh suburb, announced today that they intend to file a claim against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a result of a death from Legionnaires' disease. William E. Nicklas, 87, died from Legionnaires' disease on November 23, 2012 at the VA Hospital on University Drive, which is operated by the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. A total of five patients had contracted the disease at the hospital in November, with Mr. Nicklas being the only fatality.

Harry S. Cohen, attorney for the family, said he served the United States Government Monday with a "Form 95," which is the federal government's prerequisite notice form to present a claim against the VA under the Federal Tort Claims Act. According to Mr. Cohen, the federal government will have six months to investigate and respond and/or settle the claim before his firm is permitted by law to initiate a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

"The family of Mr. Nicklas, including his widow, children and grandchildren, are devastated by his death," said Mr. Cohen. "Based on information we've obtained, this death was very preventable. It appears as though the VA Hospital failed to properly maintain its water systems, despite recurring illnesses at the hospital and despite warnings from experts."

"My father was very proud to be a veteran, and proud of his service to our country," said David Nicklas, one of Mr. Nicklas' three sons. "He had Medicare and supplemental insurance, so he could have chosen any hospital. But as a veteran he trusted the VA to care for him. The VA betrayed that trust, just like they have for other veterans who were sickened. We want to do everything we can to make sure no other veterans suffer like my father did and like we are now," said Mr. Nicklas.

William Nicklas had been in very good health until first being admitted to the VA Hospital on University Drive in early October for shortness of breath. He was admitted for two days and discharged with instructions to follow up with his doctor. In the weeks that followed, Mr. Nicklas visited with his doctor and a beta blocker was prescribed. After a few days of taking the medication he became nauseated and dehydrated; and on November 1, he returned to the VA Hospital where he was admitted and treated for dehydration. He was recovering, but on November 17 problems developed with his kidneys, liver and blood.

The family was informed on the same day that Mr. Nicklas had developed an infection, and on November 21 they were told that he had contracted Legionnaires' disease. Mr. Nicklas' physical and mental condition deteriorated rapidly, until his death two days later. Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by breathing in water tainted by Legionella bacteria.

"We were repeatedly told at the VA that they expected my dad to make a full recovery, until the time that they confirmed that he had contracted the Legionnaires' disease," said Robert Nicklas. "He should have been home with us now, celebrating his birthday and then Christmas with my mom, his children, and grandchildren."

"My father's death was totally unexpected and tragic," said Ken Nicklas. "I spoke to him days prior to his death and told him I would be coming home to see him over the Thanksgiving holiday. Once we were advised of him contracting the Legionella bacteria on November 21st, I changed my travel plans to come home a day earlier than expected, but once I arrived at the airport my brothers advised me of his death about two hours earlier. I never got a chance to see him and that's devastating to me."

Mr. Nicklas was a veteran of World War II, entering the Navy in 1944, and serving in the Pacific theater. He was a tail gunner in a Navy fighter plane, attached to an Air Sea Rescue Force, and served at Guam, Saipan, Okinawa and other Pacific islands through his tour of duty. In May of 1946, he was honorably discharged and returned to Pittsburgh, starting his own auto body shop in Glenshaw where he worked for many years.

He married his wife Greta in 1953, and they had three sons. All three sons are married, and two live locally. Mr. Nicklas' son David, because of inspiration from his father, also enlisted in the United States Navy, serving eight years before being honorably discharged.

Mr. Nicklas worked with his son David, Hampton Township officials and other veterans groups to erect a memorial to those who died in military service, which stands in front of his hometown community center in Hampton Township.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is one of several officials who have expressed outrage over the continuing occurrences of Legionnaires' disease at the Pittsburgh VA Hospital. On December 6, in a letter to VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki that was made public by Sen. Casey's office, Sen. Casey said, "The fact that there has been at least one confirmed death connected to this recent outbreak and the continued investigation of further illness is both tragic and deeply disturbing. These men and women have made extraordinary sacrifices for our nation, yet we have failed in our duty to provide them with the quality of care that they have earned and deserve."

SOURCE Harry S. Cohen & Associates, PC

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, will discuss how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved effi...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection.
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cro...
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizonta...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...