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More Mold Found at Children’s Hospital

Aspergillus mold in operating rooms has caused seven deaths in 20 years

May 26, 2020

Despite installing a new air-handling unit and HEPA filters, Seattle Children’s Hospital has once again found mold in its operating rooms, Insurance Journal reports.

Hospital officials discovered the mold earlier this month in some of its operating rooms and an equipment storage room during routine air testing. The mold was identified as low levels of Aspergillus, which is commonly found in the environment and does not affect most people but can sicken those with weakened immune systems, according to the Washington Department of Health.

Seattle Children’s Hospital was the subject of a class-action lawsuit alleging hospital officials didn’t reveal its mold problem to the public and parents of patients. Since 2001, seven patients have died of illness connected to the mold and 14 patients have had Aspergillus infections. Last fall, hospital officials said they only recently connected past patient deaths and illnesses to problems with the facility’s air-filtration system. However, the lawsuit claimed that officials knew about the mold since at least 2005 when a family sued the hospital after their child developed an Aspergillus infection while a patient. The hospital settled the lawsuit three years later.

Facility air systems can house mold and other airborne contaminants. Learn how to recognize and eliminate infection control issues coming from your vents.

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