Teacher Retires After Contracting Legionnaires' Disease
Posted on 16th February 2023
Teacher Gary McClellan, 68, almost died and is still suffering ill health a year-and-a-half after he is thought to have contracted Legionnaires' disease from the shower during a four-star hotel stay. He spent several days in hospital in intensive care after developing the disease and deteriorated so much that his family "feared the worst".
The article (source here) goes on to say that the effects of the illness have been so severe, Mr McClellan has been forced to retire from his job. It is thought he was exposed to the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' from the hot and cold water of the shower. He was working part-time as an assistant head teacher when he fell ill after staying overnight at the Port Lympne Hotel in Hythe, Kent, between June 18 and 19, 2021. After doing preliminary tests, Public Health England reported the results from the hotel had come back as positive for legionella.
Investigators found the bacteria in the shower’s hot and cold water supply. Three days after leaving the hotel on June 22, Mr McClellan began to suffer flu-like symptoms, including aches, pains and dehydration.
His condition worsened over the following days and he started suffering from chronic diarrhoea, bright orange urine, confusion, shortness of breath and sweats. By June 28 he was forced to go to The Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate. Kent, and spent several days in intensive care with his family by his bedside, fearing the worst.
Mr McClellan was finally discharged over a week later on July 8, but has been left to suffer from lingering effects of the disease. His drop in health stopped him from returning to work full-time in September 2021 and instead, he had to wait to start a few months later and could only manage two days a week.
By June last year, Mr McClellan had to come to terms that he couldn't continue working and fully retired from the job he loved. Mr McClellan, who is from Sandwich in Kent, said at first he put his symptoms down to Covid or the flu as it was not long after lockdown restrictions were lifted that year.
He added: “I started to feel ill not long after I returned home from the hotel, but at first put it down to flu. The time I spent in hospital was a blur, but I did realise that whatever was wrong with me was serious, and I was determined to fight for my life.
“It was such a frightening experience and in many ways, I’m glad to still be here to talk about it, but months down the line, it’s clear my life is not the same and I fear that it will never be the same again.
“I was due to return to work full time. Instead of working full time, I could only manage a couple of days a week and as of June 2022 made the decision to fully retire from a career that I loved. It’s a great sadness that my teaching career has been forced to end prematurely and in this way.
“It has put me and my family through a terrible trauma, as they were forced to watch my declining health and as I went into intensive care, feared the worst. These aren’t experiences that you easily forget or recover from. Now I want answers on what happened, for my own peace of mind and to draw a line under what has been a nightmare for me and the whole family.”
This highlights the importance of legionella risk assessments and monitoring.
GES Water offer a full range of water hygiene services including Legionella risk assessments and many online courses to keep you compliant and your customers and staff safe. Our team have a wealth of knowledge within the industry and can help you with any questions or queries you may have.
You can call us anytime on 0800 121 880 or contact us here.
Tagged as: GES Water, Legionella, legionella risk assessment, LegionellaTech, Legionnaires Disease, wales, waterhygiene
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