20 July 2017 | SPL News

If prosecutors are looking for evidence to prove manslaughter charges against five government officials charged with the death of a man they say contracted Legionnaires' disease from Flint water, they may have to look further than his death certificate.

The certificate, filed in the Genesee County Clerk's Office, lists the 85-year-old Genesee Township man's cause of natural death as "end stage congestive heart failure." Neither Legionnaires' disease nor Legionella is listed on the county's record of Robert Skidmore's death.

MLive-The Flint Journal was not able to reach Genesee County Medical Examiner Brian Hunter for comment.

However, Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa J. Dragovic said that, if foul play is not suspected in a death and an autopsy is not performed on a body, causes of death are often "educated guesses" and that mistakes can be made.

"Each and every death is different, and obviously there are questions with each death, and certainly if there's no autopsy," Dragovic said....

But Skidmore's listed heart failure can be an indication that he was at a higher risk to contract Legionnaires' disease, said Dr. Janet Stout, president and director of the Pennsylvania-based Special Pathogens Laboratory and an expert in legionella.

Cancer, kidney failure, respiratory failure or heart failure -- as in Skidmore's case -- can render a person more susceptible to contracting Legionnaires', Stout said.

(Excerpt from MLive)