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Hospital Mold and Dust Putting Patients at Risk

October 31, 2019

It takes a lot of planning and preventative maintenance to keep health care facilities safe for vulnerable patients, even new buildings. A new hospital in the Northwest Territories of Canada has been plagued with multiple hazards since it opened it May.

A water leak that damaged a wall in the dialysis unit of Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife was discovered just one day after the hospital opened, CBC News reports. The gray water, which contained bodily fluids, led to mold growth. Contractors were brought in to repair the walls, but the work was halted regarding concerns about the construction dust harming the patients, especially those with low immunity who were undergoing dialysis. According to Canadian Standards Association, the work area needed to be fully sealed with air pumped outside using a negative air pressure system.

The water leaks remained two months later in July, and mold was also found in a staff restroom. Hospital authorities expressed concern that although the mold had been contained to this restroom and the dialysis center, mold spores had already been spread throughout the facility through the HVAC system.

To make matters worse, hospital staff have been dealing with ongoing hazardous spills. This problem also started the first day the hospital opened, when staff had not set out any garbage cans for waste. Staff and patients threw paper towels and other trash in the toilets, which led to sewage backups and toilet overflows.

 

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