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‘Tireless' programme of works failed to prevent fatal Legionnaires' outbreak

28 February 2019 by
‘Tireless' programme of works failed to prevent fatal Legionnaires' outbreak

A "tireless" programme of works including sterilisation, the removal of piping and regular system flushing failed to prevent a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the Feathers hotel, in Ludlow, in 2017.

Elaine Brown, 69, from Merseyside died in August 2017 after suffering a stroke as a result of Legionnaires' disease, just days after she stayed at the Shropshire hotel with her husband.

Legionnaires' disease is serious pneumonia caused by the breathing in of the Legionella bacteria. The bacteria are inhaled through droplets from contaminated water sources.

An inquest into her death heard that the hotel's former director, Tim Ceney, had been informed of a case of Legionnaires' in a former guest in 2015, but there had been no suggestion that the hotel was the source of the disease. Despite this, Ceney appointed contractors to chlorinate water tanks and carry out a programme of works.

The inquest heard that following the removal the system was found to be free of legionella bacteria, but just a month later Brown fell ill following her stay.

Former hotel manager Ian Taylor told the two-day inquest that regular tap flushing, temperature readings and shower head cleaning had also taken place at the property.

The inquest jury delivered a narrative verdict, which was read by senior coroner for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, John Ellery. He said: "Mr and Mrs Brown stayed at the Feathers hotel, Ludlow, where she contracted legionella pneumonia which contributed to her stroke and subsequently killed her."

It was confirmed in December 2018 that the Feathers had been bought by Birmingham-based Crest Hotels having previously been put on the market for £2.6m.

Ellery said he would not be making a report as he was satisfied the hotel would not re-open until the risk had been eradicated. Crest is currently undertaking a £500,000 refurbishment, which will see a new plumbing system installed.

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