A US District Court Class action alleges flesh-eating bacteria lurking In cruise lines' hot tubs.
Tab Lankford, who was cruising on the ship Carnival Paradise on December 17, 2011, claims he contracted "hot tub folliculitis" from a Carnival whirlpool. The severe infection nearly cost him his leg. "The entire leg turned black and they wanted to amputate," said his attorney, John Billera. After a week in the hospital and $70,000 in medical bills later, Mr. Lankford's leg was saved, but he still bears the scars from the flesh-eating infection. When Mr. Lankford contacted Carnival regarding his infection, he claims a guest relations specialist told him that there were more than fifty other passengers on the same cruise who came down with the same illness from using the hot tubs.
And the infested hot tubs are not just limited to one ship. The suit alleges that on the May 12, 2012 voyage of Carnival's ship the Fascination, Maria Osoriocano and Andrew Smith became severely infected with MRSA and staphylococcus aureus from using its hot tub. Sean Cleary, their attorney, along with Mr. Billera have now filed a class action seeking the names of all persons who have suffered from a bacterial infection after using a Carnival hot tub.
"Our clients – and we believe many others – have suffered horrendous infections from bathing in Carnival's hot tubs," said Mr. Cleary. "One problem is that these infections may take a few days to surface. By the time the passengers know they have been exposed, it is often too late to report the problem on the ship."
Carnival's motion to dismiss the class action was recently denied by Federal Judge Cecilia Altonaga of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Attorneys Billera and Cleary are now seeking from Carnival the names of all persons who were infected by its hot tubs.