Millions of people frequent amusement parks every year to enjoy a fun day with family or friends. Unfortunately, once in awhile, a day at the theme park can lead to a serious injury. A Pennsylvania man has sued a theme park for negligence after he claims that he contracted an eye-eating parasite on one of its water rides. Robert Trostle claims that he contracted the parasite microsporidia in his left eye from being splashed on the “Raging Rapids” ride at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood amusement park this summer.
Stating a Case for an Amusement Park Injury
In his complaint, Mr. Trostle said that his eye became itchy, red, painful, and sensitive to light in the days following his ride on the Raging Rapids, which simulates white-water rafting. He was given antibiotics after being diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), but his symptoms continued to get worse, his lawsuit claims. He underwent “an extremely painful surgery where the parasite was scraped out of the eye with a surgical scalpel,” after being diagnosed with microsporidia keratitis, according to the complaint.The lawsuit also claims that the Raging Rapids ride’s water was “dirty, stagnant, and sludge-like,” and said that the park failed to adequately regulate, inspect, and filter the water.
Commonality of the Infection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), parasitic keratitis is a “rare but serious infection of the eye that can cause permanent vision loss or blindness,” after infecting the cornea, the transparent part of the eye that covers iris and pupil. Most infections from parasitic keratitis (around 85%) are caused by wearing contacts. The infection can often be difficult to treat and typically requires aggressive medical and surgical treatment. The parasite that causes it is quite common in nature and can be found in tap water, heating, ventilating and air conditioning units, and hot tubs, according to the CDCP.
Despite its commonality, the incidence at which it causes infections is fairly low.
Studies have estimated its prevalence at 1.2 cases per million adults and as many as two per 10,000 soft contact lens wearers per year. The number of cases rose dramatically in the 1980s as more people began to use soft contact lenses, non-sterile contact lens solutions, and homemade saline tablets, according to studies cited in a 2013 report. Outbreaks have been linked to contaminated water supplies and floods, the report said.
Asked for comment, Kennywood stated that it does not comment on active litigation. However, a spokesman for the park stated that “safety is the top priority of Kennywood in everything we do, and that certainly extends to the maintenance of the rides and the water used in rides.” Mr. Trostle is seeking damages in the amount of $35,000 in the lawsuit.
Contact an Atlanta Theme Park Accident Attorney
If you have been injured at a theme park due to negligently maintained or constructed rides, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact the Atlanta theme park accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Fulton County, DeKalb County, and Cobb County.