Patient Story

Your Name: Arnold Earl Cheal

Patient's Name/Relationship: Self

City/State: Ellerslie, GA

When did event occur (what year)? 2017

Where did event occur? Acute Care General Hospital

What type of medical harm did you experience or witness? Combination of Above or "Other". Please explain.

Please describe what happened. I was taken, by ambulance, to St. Francis Hospital, Columbus, GA ER for pneumonia. While in the ER I was asked if I had been out of the country and I explained I had been on a cruise ship, round trip to the Panama Canal. I had been in hot tubs on the ship numerous times during the cruise. A urine sample was taken in the ER and the sample was labeled, and apparently logged into the computer system as started. Later it was learned that nothing had happened to the sample. That sample was important because later there were concerns that I may have had Legionnaires disease. Apparently, the test for Legionnaires was by testing urine. We learned that Legionnaires could be contracted from "fumes" (airborne water mist) coming off of a hot tub. However, the hospital COO indicated that initially there was no order to test for Legionnaires. I was then admitted to the hospital and after a couple days it was determined that the ER urine sample apparently was not sent to the lab for analysis. Another sample was taken and supposedly sent to the lab for testing Daily checking by the hospitalist revealed the test results were not available, even on the sixth day of my stay. The day after my release, I was requested to return to the hospital for another urine sample. The results of that sample were reportedly negative for Legionnaires disease. However, the long delay between my visit to the ER, coupled with the antibiotics to treat my pneumonia, leads me to question if I may have also had Legionnaires. That was important because, if I did have Legionnaires, Princess Cruise Lines needed to know. The hospital recognized there were problems and have apologized.

What was the outcome of the medical harm issue? "Near Miss" - no injury