1 Dead, 5 Infected By Mold At Seattle Children's Hospital
Seattle Children's Hospital has revealed that one patient has died and five others have been infected by a potentially dangerous mold that has forced the medical center to close all of its main operating rooms. The hospital disclosed the infections and death to The Seattle Times Tuesday in response to follow-up questions regarding the closures of four operating rooms on its main Seattle campus May 18 because of Aspergillus mold and of the remaining 10 operating rooms May 24.
The hospital says operating rooms have been infested by mold -- off and on -- for about a year likely because of deficiencies in the operating rooms' air handling and purification systems.
"We are deeply saddened that one of our patients died after developing an Aspergillus infection in 2018," Seattle Children's public relations manager Alyse Bernal told CBS News Tuesday in a written statement. "We want to reiterate that the risk of developing an infection for patients is very low."
Upgrades, but not ready yet
Bernal said the hospital had "identified deficiencies in our air handlers, including gaps in the air filtration system that we believe to be key contributing factors to the air quality issue," and in collaboration with outside experts had replaced one air handing system, installed a new humidification system, added an extra step to operating room cleaning protocols that uses ultraviolent light to disinfect surfaces, and sealed leaks in the ventilation system.