Deadly Mold Infestation at Seattle Children’s Hospital Aspergillus mold in operating rooms is responsible for sick patients
Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington has admitted to being responsible for patients falling ill and six deaths due to the outbreak of Aspergillus mold. The CEO of the hospital claims that the hospital failed to recognize the correlation between the infections and the air-handling units in the operating rooms. Originally when outbreaks began to be reported the hospital thought that they were isolated events, but their failure to take a closer look meant more people continued to fall ill.
Aspergillus mold is a type of mold that rarely affects healthy people. It is found both indoors and outdoors, and people breathe it in regularly without becoming sick. The reason so many have been affected is due to either having a lung disease or weakened immune system. The effects can range from mild to severe, resulting in either an allergic reaction or infections in the lungs or other organs.
The failure to properly maintain and manage their air systems is the root of the issue. In 2017, an inspector from the Department of Health cited the hospital for failure to “implement and monitor an effective infection prevention program”. This shows that the hospital has been aware of the problem in recent years but also it has been revealed they have known since 2001. In May of this year, state inspectors again cited the hospital for failure to maintain its air-handling units and exhaust fans.
On November 10th, the hospital again revealed that it detected Aspergillus mold in three of its operating rooms. They closed those operating rooms, sanitized them, and managed the air-handling units. The hospital has installed new air filtration systems in three of its operating rooms and plans to install them in all 14 soon.
The hospital is facing many lawsuits against them due to the mold infestation. The ages of those affected who are suing range from a 2-month-old to a 17-year-old girl. The lawsuits being filed are also regarding illnesses between 2005 and 2017. A shocking statement made by one of the lawyers claims that the number of affected patients is actually much higher than it seems, claiming that dozens if not hundreds have been affected.
Seattle Children’s Hospital is right across the water and is the hospital that many of the students at BHS have been to for various reasons. This is a shocking outbreak and is affecting many people and their families. As of right now there is no conclusion as to what will happen, but the heavy amount of lawsuits against them will undoubtedly affect them.