1 dead, 5 ill from risky mold in Seattle Children’s operating rooms


Seattle Children's Hospital in Washington revealed on Tuesday that a patient died and five others were infected by a risky mold.

"We are deeply saddened that one of these patients died", she said. While the hospital works with outside industrial hygienists to clear the rooms of Aspergillus contamination, all 14 of the hospital's main operating rooms remain closed, Bernal said.

Gaps in air filtration is believed to have been key in the presence of mold, Bernal stated.

The hospital said Tuesday that its operating rooms were closed indefinitely in late May because of the infestation, which has been off and on for a year, according to The Seattle Times.

Many surgeries have been postponed and many of them have been delegated to other Medical Centers or other campuses of Seattle.

Since the closures six weeks ago, Seattle Children's Hospital said it has implemented several improvements, including decommissioning the previous air handling and purification systems, installing and testing a new humidification system, sealing potential sources of air leaks in all of the operating rooms, and deep cleaning all of the operating rooms including with ultraviolet light. The report attached to the letter highlights number of issues one of them being, "air handlers serving the operating rooms". The hospital says issues with its air filtering system were likely at fault.

The revelation shows the problem at the prestigious hospital was more extensive than officials there had previously acknowledged publicly.

Also, Seattle has provided contact details in case any of the patients and families has any questions.

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According to a report from The Seattle Times, the patient who died was infected in 2018.

"Both hospitals are working with Seattle Children's to make sure that they do what they can do to help them", Mankowski said.

Aspergillus is a common mold that most people breathe without getting sick but that poses a greater risk to those with weakened immune systems or lung disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fungus infections in hospitals had fatal consequences before.

"We are very sorry for the impact the air quality issue in our operating rooms has had on our patients and families, and we are taking this situation very seriously", Bernal told The Post in an email. Washington state Department of Health investigators also checked out the hospital and offered suggestions on how to improve air quality, which the hospital followed, Bernal wrote.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also investigated and found "deficiencies", CMS told The Post.

Del Beccaro said the hospital is not anxious about repercussions from CMS, though.