The mother of one of the 30 people sickened by an outbreak of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation has filed a lawsuit against the facility, alleging that it failed to take proper precautions to prevent the outbreak and failed to inform families.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in Passaic County Superior Court on behalf of Paula Costigan and her son, William DelGrosso, 14, who has been hospitalized for weeks with the illness.
The plaintiffs are represented by Paul da Costa of Snyder Sarlo D’Aniello Maceri & da Costa in Roseland.
No answer had been filed as of Thursday. Officials from Wanaque Center, a long-term treatment facility for pediatric patients with severe illnesses, did not respond to a request for comment.
DelGrosso, who had been admitted to Wanaque Center in Haskell in 2015, contracted adenovirus on Oct. 11 and began suffering from a high fever and respiratory complications, according to the lawsuit.
He was transferred on Oct. 18 to the Hackensack University Medical Center, and remains there as of Thursday.
The lawsuit alleges that Costigan was not told of her son’s illness until the day he was transferred to Hackensack.
The outbreak of the adenovirus occurred between Sept. 26 and Oct. 21. Ten children so far have died as a result of complications from the illness, according to reports.
The lawsuit alleges that officials from the state Department of Health inspected Wanaque Center three times in recent years and found numerous violations, including excessive erosion on faucets, stains on the floors, black substances and dirt in bathrooms, and debris in the heating and air-conditioning units.
Inspectors also found instances of poor hygiene on the part of some staff members, the lawsuit claims.
“At the time of the initial case of adenovirus, the defendants did not have proper infection prevention and control programs, protocols or procedures in place to remedy the infection and prevent it from spreading throughout its pediatric residents,” the complaint said.
The suit claims Wanaque Center told DOH about the adenovirus outbreak on Oct. 9, but neglected to inform any of the patients’ parents or guardians.
The lawsuit alleges that in addition to failing to inform patients’ parents or guardians, Wanaque Center engaged in a deviation from the accepted standard of care in not promptly and properly responding to and treating the outbreak.
Da Costa was away from his office on Thursday and not unavailable for comment.