Lawsuit: Man contracted parasite at amusement park

Posted at 6:08 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 06:08:35-05

PITTSBURGH (WTAE/CNN) – A man claims he contracted a “harmful parasite that eats away at the cornea of the eye” when he was splashed with water during a ride at Pennsylvania’s Kennywood Park, according to a lawsuit.

Robert Trostle and his wife Krystsina were waiting in line at the amusement park on July 2 when they noticed the water surrounding the river rapids ride was “dirty, stagnant and sludge-like,” the lawsuit says.

They also noticed the waterfall was not operating.

Near the end of the ride, Robert Trostle was splashed with water in his left eye, according to the lawsuit.

"Unbeknownst to Robert, this seemingly inconsequential event caused him to come into contact with microsporidia, a harmful parasite that eats away at the cornea of the eye and was present in the water used in the Raging Rapids," the lawsuit claims.

Over the next two days, Robert Trostle’s left eye became inflamed, itchy, red, photosensitive and “severely painful,” the lawsuit says.

The Trostles’ lawyer says his client started experiencing discomfort in the eye the same day he rode the ride.

Robert Trostle was diagnosed with acute conjunctivitis, a.k.a. pink eye, on July 5 and given antibiotics, but the symptoms got worse, and he was diagnosed with microsporidia keratitis on July 14, according to the lawsuit.

Microsporidia keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, which is the clear tissue on the front of the eye, caused by the parasitic organism known as microsporidia.

"Robert had to undergo an extremely painful surgery where the parasite was scraped out of the eye with a surgical scalpel, and he was required to remain in a dark room for the next two days," the lawsuit said. "The microsporidia parasite penetrated the second level of Robert's eye and the entirety of the parasite was unable to be removed via surgery.”

The lawsuit goes on to say that Robert Trostle continues to have problems with his left eye, including blurry vision, redness, itchiness, inflammation and pain.

The Trostles claim Kennywood did not have “adequate policies and procedures to inspect the water being used on the ‘Raging Rapids’ ride,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges negligence against Kennywood Entertainment and claims damages in excess of $35,000.

A Kennywood spokesman says the parasite claim is an allegation that has not been proven, and he couldn’t comment on pending litigation. He does say safety is the park’s “top priority,” which includes maintenance of rides and the water involved in them.

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