Attorney for MDHHS Director questions source of Legionella bacteria

Hearing to determine if charges against MDHHS Director Nick Lyon will head to trial is on hold until January. (Photo Credit: Drew Moore/WSMH)

FLINT, Mich. --The hearing to determine if a high-ranking state official will be found responsible, for his alleged role in the Flint water crisis was back underway in Genesee County court Friday.

The questions this time revolved around what a major local hospital knew about a legionella outbreak and when they knew it.

Current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon is facing charges, including manslaughter, over the Legionnaires outbreak in 2014 and 2015.

The special prosecutor hoping to find some of those answers from a representative from McLaren Hospital who was on the stand.

McLaren risk management official Julie Borowski spent all day on the stand.

She testified that the hospital first started seeing cases of legionella in Flint during June of 2014.

Borowski stating McLaren let the Genesee County Health Department know about the increase in Legionnaires cases, and also notified the state of Michigan through an automated reporting system about the issue in 2014.

The state, however, didn't make contact with McLaren about the uptick in cases until May of 2015.

What prosecutors are trying to find out: where did the bacteria come from?

Attorney Larry Willey, who is representing Nick Lyon, questioned McLaren Flint Director of Compliance and Risk Management Julie Borowski about independent water testing the hospital paid for. It showed that the water coming into the facility through the water transmission lines tested negative for the presence of legionella. However, Borowski said further testing inside of the McLaren facility did return results which were positive for the bacteria.

McLaren Hospital also facing civil lawsuits over the outbreak which resulted in the deaths of 12 people with dozens more sick.

The hearing will pick up again at the beginning of January.

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