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Rauner Claims ‘Rave Reviews’ Over Veterans’ Home Response, Ducks Responsibility

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Governor Deflects Blame for Veterans’ Deaths in State-Run Home: ‘They Don’t Have a Strong Immune System’

While speaking with the Herald-News Editorial Board yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner tried to show he was taking responsibility for the outbreak of Legionnaires’ at the Quincy Veterans’ Home, but he couldn’t quite get there. 

First, Rauner pointed out that Northwestern Hospital had two cases of Legionnaires’, so, he concluded, “these things happen.” Then, Rauner went on to point out how old and weak the immune systems were of the veterans placed there to show there was “risk.” Finally, Rauner claimed his administration received “rave reviews” for its response. Yet, one infectious disease expert said it was “mind-boggling” that the administration waited six-days to tell the public about the outbreak. Here is an excerpt of Rauner’s answer:

“We got rave reviews and appropriate support from the national experts. Since then we’ve had a few incidences of Legionella infection and we’ve checked and made sure we’re doing all the protocols, etc. The reality is, and this is what’s not getting into the reports, the Legionella bacteria is in most water systems in Illinois. There were just two infections of Legionnaires at Northwestern Hospital, which is not even an old facility and I think is regarded as a really well-run facility. These things happen.

“With our veterans, many of them are in their late 80s and 90s (and are) vulnerable to getting sick. They don’t have a strong immune system. So the reality is that there’s some risk but in all facilities there’s risk.”

Rauner has a unique way to taking responsibility. 

“Illinois veterans died under state supervision and all Bruce Rauner can muster are excuses why his administration should not be blamed,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner’s consistent knee-jerk rejection of responsibility for any of his failures shows exactly where his priorities lie. Rauner seems more interested in washing away this scandal than actually addressing any of the outstanding questions surrounding his administration’s botched response to the Quincy Veterans’ Home.”