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Mold Infection Causes Death in Patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Last Updated: 18 February, 2020

After developing a mold infection at a Seattle Children’s Hospital, a 5-month-old girl has died, making it the seventh patient who has died at the same facility from the infection since 2001. The child had been battling the Aspergillus mold infection for several months and according to her family, she was unable to beat it. Her death occurred in 2020 on February 12th, and her family gave a brief statement the following day.

Last year, the children’s hospital confirmed that six other patients had died from contracting the Aspergillus mold infection while several others had been sickened starting in 2001. The main operating rooms at the hospital were shut down due to the infection in May and November of 2019 once the Aspergillus mold was detected in the air.

Aspergillus is a common mold that most people breathe in without getting sick, but people with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk to develop an infection after being exposed to the mold. Health problems related to the mold can include allergic reactions, lung infections, and other organ infections. Unfortunately, prior mold infections at other hospitals have also resulted in deaths. Between 2014 and 2016, five deaths from mold infections at two University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals were also reported. 

The child was born at Tacoma hospital in August, but was transferred to the Seattle Children’s Hospital the next day due to an underdeveloped left heart and other complications. It is assumed that she likely developed the mold infection during an open heart surgery in August, or a following surgery she had in November. Weeks before her death, her family joined a class-action lawsuit against the hospital with families and patients who have been sickened by the mold.

The lawsuit alleges that managers of the hospital knew as early as 2005 that transmission of Aspergillus into its premises could be related to the air-handling system. It also claims that the hospital covered up this information to reassure its staff and patients that the premises were safe when they actually were not.

In the family’s statement on Thursday, they acknowledged the doctors’ and staff’s efforts to save their daughter’s life, but that her chances of recovering were taken away when she developed the mold infection. The family is torn up over their baby’s death as they await answers from the hospital’s administration as to why the building was allowed to put their daughter and other children in harm’s way.

When CNN reached out to Seattle Children’s Hospital, a spokesperson did not confirm the baby’s death. However, they did send their deepest condolences to families of loved ones who have suffered a loss, and acknowledged the difficult nature of losing a child. Out of respect for privacy, they did not provide additional information regarding this specific case.

When you or a loved one receive medical care at a hospital or facility, you expect that the air you are breathing in is safe. Losing a loved one due to the negligence of a hospital or facility can be unexpected and difficult. The attorneys are Spiros Law, P.C. understand the pain and suffering families experience in the aftermath of a sickness or death. If you or a loved one was sickened or died from contracting a mold or any other infection that could have been prevented by the hospital, contact one of our attorneys today to receive a free consultation.