Mold At Seattle Children’s Hospital Caused One Death, Five Others Infected


At least one child has died and five others are sick after mold was discovered in a Seattle children's hospital.

On Wednesday, the hospital confirmed to Fox News that one patient was dead because of potentially unsafe mold.

"The six patients who developed Aspergillus infections were at higher risk of infection due to the types of procedures they had", said Children's public-relations manager Alyse Bernal.

"We are deeply saddened that one of these patients died", she said.

The hospital disclosed the infections and death to The Seattle Times 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.

Seattle Children's said the operating rooms will remain closed until they are safe to be reopened.

The hospital hasn't determined when that will be.

Other surgeries have been moved to the cardiac catheterization facility on the hospital's main campus in Seattle and its Bellevue campus. A thousand surgeries postponed and 3,000 people told to watch for infection symptoms.

Aspergillus is harmless to most people, and we breathe it daily. Those with weakened immune systems or lung disease, however, are at higher risk of developing aspergillosis, a disease caused by the mold. Bernal said the additional closures were needed so crews could access and fix the hospital's air system.

Three of the patients were infected in 2018, and three infected this year.

"Both hospitals are working with Seattle Children's to make sure that they do what they can do to help them", Mankowski said. In May, representatives from the hospital told KIRO Radio that the risk to patients from the mold was "very low".

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

With Seattle Children's Hospital procedures disrupted, Harborview Medical Center has already absorbed more than 70 of its surgeries and has 19 more scheduled in the coming days, said Tina Mankowski, a spokeswoman for University of Washington Medicine.

Aspergillus infection is caused due to a type of common mold, which is found in the air. The report attached to the letter highlights number of issues one of them being, "air handlers serving the operating rooms".

The hospital traced the issue to a few rooms, cleaning them, sealing potential air leaks and in some cases remodeling to minimize the chances for spores to enter, he said.

The CDC provided its expertise and "ultimately determined that Children's was taking the right approach to address the situation at that time", Apa wrote to The Post, saying that neither Apa's department nor the CDC produced reports. She would not say whether mold was detected in those rooms.