Seventh Child Dies Due to Hospital Mold
Infant’s family part of class action suit against Seattle Children’s Hospital
A six-month old infant who developed surgical site infections from Aspergillus mold at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle died last week, becoming the seventh child to die among twice as many who were affected by the mold, KOMO News reports.
Hospital officials revealed in November that 14 patients had contracted infections from Aspergillus which was found in the air-handling units of the operating rooms. In December, parents of these patients filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that that hospital covered up the mold infestation. The lawsuit claims hospital officials knew about the mold since at least 2005, when a family sued the hospital after their child developed an Aspergillus infection. The hospital confidentially settled the lawsuit in 2008.
Aspergillus is commonly found in the environment. Although the mold does not affect most people, those with weakened immune systems, damaged lungs, or asthma are more likely to get sick after breathing it in.
Seattle Children’s Hospital closed its operating rooms twice last year after air tests detected the mold. As of February 5, the hospital has reopened three operating rooms after installing HEPA filtration. Hospital maintenance crews are currently installing HEPA filters in the remaining 11 operating rooms that are currently closed, according to the Washington state Department of Health.