WBEZ Investigates

Surviving War, But Not The Veterans’ Home

WBEZ investigates mismanagement and cover-up by the state of Illinois in the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak tied to 14 deaths at the state’s largest veterans’ since 2015

WBEZ produced more than 40 enterprise-driven stories in 2018 about the cover-up and mismanagement by the state of Illinois of recurring Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks tied to 14 deaths at the state’s largest veterans’ home since 2015.

At its core, this yearlong investigation has been a story of how decorated military veterans who could survive the awful rigors of war couldn’t endure an unseen bacteria lurking in their room sink faucets, showerheads or whirlpool jets. WBEZ’s exclusive reporting, fueled by hundreds of thousands of state documents obtained through open-records requests, led to changes in state law, plans for a new facility and the launch of a criminal probe. It also shaped Illinois’ 2018 political campaigns by contributing to the defeat of the state’s one-term governor, who presided over the outbreaks.

The 2017 stories listed at the end are considered a supplement to the submission.