Health Care

Ohio woman's family files lawsuit against outdoor park

Ohio woman's family files lawsuit against outdoor park”

A lawsuit against the U.S. National Whitewater Center was filed Monday, just over year after an OH teen contracted a brain-eating amoeba when she was rafting at the facility. The level of amoeba in the water was also off the charts, theCharlotte Observer reported.

The center issued a statement at the time of Seitz's death previous year saying it filtered and disinfected the water.

The suit, filed in OH where Lauren Seitz lived, alleges the park's popular rafting channels were risky and that park operators showed "conscious disregard for the safety of visitors". She was with her church group and fell off a raft into the water.

The lawsuit also claims the Whitewater Center failed to regulate the water temperature or warn visitors about possible danger of the amoeba.

But an employee complained about the conditions and a federal epidemiologist found the filtration and disinfection systems were inadequate.

The raft overturned at one point, marking her only known underwater exposure before she died.

She died 11 days after her whitewater trip.

The 18-year old died June 19, 2016, after she was exposed to Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba that can cause a rare and deadly brain infection.

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The amoeba won't infect a person who drinks or swallows it but is nearly always deadly when water containing the bacteria is forced through a person's nose. It enters the nose and goes to the brain, where it causes swelling and death.

"Lauren and other visitors had a higher likelihood of encountering Naegleria fowleri in the unregulated waters of the U.S. National Whitewater Center than they did by simply rafting in the nearby Catawba River", the lawsuit says.

Under pressure, the park shuttered the water feature for almost two months and a federal epidemiologist found that filtration and disinfection systems were inadequate to properly clean the facility's turbid waters.

"We have a reputation that well exceeds Miami County", Lopez said.

Mecklenburg County health officials shut down the park's whitewater features after discovering the amoeba, according to WRAL.

Seitz had graduated with honors from Westerville South High School, where she was drum major of the school's marching band, in May, the Columbus Dispatch reported. At the time of Seitz's death, the outdoor center was only one of three across the country that wasn't required to protect the public from waterborne diseases, the Charlotte Observer reported.

'Lauren just graduated in May and was one of the most talented, humble and caring students I've ever taught'.

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