Opposition requests magisterial inquiry on Mount Carmel Legionella death

Insists health minister must explain why he didn’t disclose patient's death from the disease several weeks ago

Opposition insists health minister Chris Fearne explain why patient's Legionella death at Mount Carmel hospital was concealed
Opposition insists health minister Chris Fearne explain why patient's Legionella death at Mount Carmel hospital was concealed

It was very worrying that the government had tried to hide that fact that a patient at Mount Carmel hospital had died of Legionella, and instead carried on with ‘business as usual’, the Opposition said.

“This is a serious case, and we are insisting that all facts related to it be established. Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne has to explain why he chose to hide this case, which was only made public through the media,” it said.

In a press statement this morning, the Opposition insisted that a magisterial inquiry be undertaken to investigate what lead to the patient contracting and dying from the disease. Responsibility for what happened had to be taken, it said.

It was also very concerning that the patient died after catching the disease through the hospital’s water system, which other patients, as well as hospital employees, make use of.

These individuals, who on a daily basis use the same water which lead to the patient's death, are being placed at risk, the Opposition emphasised.

The death of the middle-aged patient at Mount Carmel, which happened a number of weeks ago, was only disclosed in a Times of Malta report earlier this week.

The Legionella bacterium is found naturally in freshwater environments, however it can become a health threat when it grows and spreads in places such as showers or air-conditioning units.

It can lead to serious respiratory disease, for which people over 50, smokers, and those with chronic lung disease, a weak immune system or other underlying illnesses, are at an increased risk.

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