Seattle Children’s Hospital Mold Problem is Far Reaching
Seattle Children’s hospital announced at a press conference Wednesday that they are ready to re-open operating rooms closed late May due to dangerous air quality. Investigation into multiple cases of infection led to the discovery of air leaks that allowed mold spores into operating rooms. At least one patient died as a result and multiple more patients developed infections. Seattle Children’s now affirms that testing of the air quality displays improved conditions. In all, 14 operating rooms were closed while the air quality was addressed.
The complications from infections caused by mold spores can happen well after the spores have made their way in to the body. Typically, in the case of an affected operating room, spores can enter the body when opened for surgery. The Aspergillus mold, the mold having infested these operating rooms, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an environmental mold also classified as a fungus that is common in nearly all oxygen-rich habitats. People, and especially children who are immunocompromised, are at greater risk when exposed to this mold. What may not cause any issues for a healthy adult, one who might breath air containing these mold spores regularly, can be extremely dangerous to someone with a suppressed immune system. Infections can develop in organs and lead to major illness or death.
The Seattle Children’s Hospital reports that the infestation came from an ineffective air quality system. They discovered leaks in the system meant to filter air- allowing mold spores in. Rooms identified as problematic were closed down, cleaned, inspected and restorative actions taken to ensure rooms are now completely safe for patients. With the air systems deemed repaired, the hospital is moving forward on re-opening of operating rooms. In the interim, neighboring hospitals such as Harborview and UW Medical were seeing patients to the extent possible but many patients had surgeries postponed.
With many eyes on this tragicevent, Seattle Children’s Hospital is dealing with much scrutiny and having to answer some tough questions. Spokespersons for the hospital are expressing remorse over the loss of one life and the compromised health of others and believe they are taking every corrective step necessary to make Seattle Children’s a safe facility once again. Rated one of the top children’s hospitals in the country for many reasons, the community will be fortunate to have them fully up and running again.
Seattle Children’s Hospital: Image and Reputation have been harmed as hospital may face litigation in the aftermath of the Mold outbreak.
Is Seattle Children’s Hospital liable to the families for the Mold Outbreak that turned deadly? According to one national food poisoning lawyer with experience handling nosocomial infections in hospitals, the answer is yes: “The hospital knew it had a problem and failed to correct the problem until the consequences were disastrous,” says Ron Simon, adding “it could have taken the steps it is taking now many months ago and saved the lives and families it serves.”
The investigation is ongoing, as are efforts to prevent such tragedy in the future. The hospital’s reputation has taken a serous turn for the worse – but expectations that he hospital will work to prevent future harm should mean the institution can regain the trust of the community.
According to one observer, “Seattle Children’s Hospital has been routinely rated one of the top children’s hospitals in the country for many reasons, and the community will be fortunate to have them fully up and running again.”