Legionnaires' survivor's fury over FAI delay
A SURVIVOR of Edinburgh's legionnaires' outbreak four years ago has accused the Crown Office of 'making a mockery' of victims by failing to announce any decision on a fatal accident inquiry.
Gordon Erasmuson, 63, who was hospitalised after contracting legionnaires’ disease in May 2012, has written an open letter complaining about the “interminable waiting for answers and accountability”.
Four people died in the outbreak that summer and nearly 100 were treated for the disease.
Nine sites were named in an NHS report as potential sources of the outbreak, which experts said was spread through an “aerosol release” of bacteria, but no definite cause was ever identified.
The Crown Office has said there is no scientific basis for a prosecution, but four years on it is still considering whether to hold a fatal accident inquiry (FAI).
In his open letter, Mr Erasmuson said: “As a survivor of the 2012 Edinburgh legionnaires’ outbreak I feel I have to make a serious complaint about the time it is taking to decide whether or not an FAI will be held.
“Does anyone in your office understand the sheer stress and anger and psychological pain this interminable waiting for answers and accountability is inflicting on the relatives of the deceased and injured survivors?
“Your office is causing further injury to the already damaged health of the survivors of this criminally negligent act of mass poisoning and your office has been apparently moribund on this case for over four years now.”
The letter goes on to demand a public statement “instead of making a mockery of the deceased and survivors year after year”. The Evening News reported in June how uncertainty over an FAI meant the Health and Safety Executive would not release vital information, forcing families of victims to suspend plans for a civil claim for damages.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “This was a complex case which required detailed and lengthy investigation, involving complicated technical and medical issues and expert opinion.
“In April 2015, the Crown concluded that there was no scientific basis for any prosecution related to the deaths and that consideration would be given to an FAI.
“Crown Counsel will, in their determination, give consideration to a number of factors, including the responses to the IMT (Incident Management Team) report published in August 2015 and the views of the families.
“Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to hold a FAI does not have an influence on any civil proceedings.”