Wayne State doctor testifies in Nick Lyon water emergency hearing

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FLINT (WJRT) (11/02/2017) - Dr. Paul Kilgore took the witness stand Thursday during the sixth day of testimony in a case charging the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with the death of a Genesee Township man.

Nick Lyon is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office stemming from the death of 85-year-old Robert Skidmore. Skidmore had Legionnaire's disease. His death certificate says he died from end stage congestive heart failure.

Lyon is accused of waiting too long to notify the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that began soon after Flint's switch from receiving drinking water from Detroit to pumping water from the Flint River.

Thursday's testimony was part of a preliminary hearing, during which a Genesee County judge will decide whether to push Lyon's case to a trial.

Some 12 people died and 79 more were sickened by legionella bacteria in 2014 and 2015, which was traced to the switch in water sources.

Kilgore, an associate professor at Wayne State University's School of Pharmacy, was part of a team researching the source of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Flint during the early stages of the water emergency in 2014 and 2015.

Kilgore discussed a 2016 meeting between Lyon, advisers to Gov. Rick Snyder and the Flint Area Community and Environmental Partnership, of which Kilgore was a member. During the meeting, Kilgore testified that Lyon rebuffed the partnership's research into the legionnella bacteria source.

The partnership was pushing to perform more research, but Lyon is accused of balking at the cost and turning down their requests.

Dr. Marcus Zervos, another Wayne State medical professor and member of the partnership, testified earlier in the preliminary hearing that Lyon was dismissive about the severity of the crisis, even after telling him if they didn't act with urgency, people would lose their lives.

Zervos testified that Lyon once told him, "People are going to die of something."

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