Lawsuit filed against Seattle Children’s hospital for mold exposure and the deaths of 6 children

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SEATTLE (AP & CBS) — Executives at a Washington state children’s hospital have found additional patient deaths from a mold infection after taking a closer look at their records.

KING-TV reported Tuesday that Seattle Children’s CEO Jeff Sperring announced Monday that they looked at their history of Aspergillus infections and found that between 2001 and 2019, there were 14 infected patients, six of whom have died.

The Patnode family from Yakima says they sued the hospital in 2005 saying their 12-year-old daughter was exposed to mold while she was having brain tumor surgery.


Attorney John Layman says the family and hospital eventually settled the lawsuit.

The CEO of the hospital recently said that five deaths between 2001 and 2014 from surgical site infections from Aspergillus mold were likely caused by the air handling systems that serve the operating rooms.

Seattle Children’s said it has had seven Aspergillus surgical site infections since the summer of 2018. One of those patients also died.

Last month, routine air test results again revealed the presence of Aspergillus in the air in three operating rooms and two procedural areas at the main campus.

In an August report,  Seattle Children’s Hospital had a strategy of keeping information about the deadly mold in its operating rooms under wraps, dating back to 2018.

Emails between Dr. Danielle Zerr, King County Public Health, and the CDC during the hospital’s 2018 aspergillus cases — which led to the death of one patient– show a “reactive media strategy.” It instructs people to reveal important information about cases, including whether the hospital “had any patients with a confirmed aspergillus surgical site infection,” only if asked about it.

Hospital officials say most of the operating rooms are expected to be closed until January as officials upgrade its air-filtration system.


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