The medical community recognizes a condition known as Sick Building Syndrome (“SBS”). SBS describes a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason but all are subject to the same internal air environment. According to the World Health Organization, these symptoms tend to increase in severity with the time spent in the building, or disappear when people are away from the building. The World Health Organization performed a study which found that the occupants of buildings can suffer a number of relatively minor illnesses but, sometimes, these develop into significant medical conditions. These conditions may occur as a result of poor indoor air quality. These are often due to ineffective construction, design or maintenance of heating and ventilation. The cause is difficult to prove, however. If it’s a bacterial cause, air testing may reveal the nature of the contamination and possibly its source. Air born microorganisms can cause very severe illnesses. This is especially true in medical facilities.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Royal Society determined that hospital acquired infections are an important public health issue with unacceptable levels of morbidity or mortality. http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/6/Suppl_6/S697. According to the author (with contributions from microbiologists, mechanical and civil engineers, and mathematicians) airborne transmission of disease is an important and significant health risk to patients and hospital workers. The type of pathogens in the air depends upon multiple factors including moisture, air flow, building population, and increased risk activities, among others. Very serious medical conditions can be transmitted through the air. However, the biggest challenge in legal disputes is the preservation of the evidence of airborne pathogens. In other words, in order to succeed in pursuing compensation for the contraction of an airborne illness, the patient or worker must prove the poisonous or harmful effects of the air quality. They must usually also prove the source. This can only be done through testing.
The Patberg Law Firm has extensive experience in handling workers’ compensation claims, medical malpractice claims, and premises liability claims for Sick Building Syndrome as well as liability for the airborne transmission of disease. These are difficult cases and require a great deal of skill, knowledge, and aptitude. If you, a family member, co-worker, or friend believe that they are suffering from an injury from the airborne transmission of disease or from Sick Building Syndrome, contact Rolf Louis Patberg at the Patberg Law Firm at 412-232-3500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.