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More infections as Seattle Children’s closes operating rooms for mold again

Seattle Children's Hospital. (Seattle Children's courtesy photo)

Seattle Children’s Hospital has been forced to close some of its operating rooms, after once again detecting the presence of mold.

Archive: 1 dead, 5 others infected from mold at Seattle Children’s

Tests run on Nov. 10 showed a potentially dangerous fungus known as Aspergillus in the air in three operating rooms and two procedural areas. All of those rooms have since been closed, with the hospital planning to close its remaining ORs “at some point this week.”

It is a common mold, but it can cause complications for surgical patients. One of Seattle’s Children’s patients died earlier in 2019 from an Aspergillus infection, and now two more patients may have infections from recent surgery.

“We are deeply sorry for the impact the air quality issues in our operating rooms continue to have on our patients and families,” the hospital said in a news release. “Seattle Children’s remains committed to doing what’s right to keep our patients safe.”

The hospital closed its main operating rooms on May 18 after testing positive for Aspergillus. The remaining 10 were closed six days later. The hospital touted “extensive improvements and corrective actions” after the rooms were reopened on July 4.

In addition to the one reported death from that early-2019 incident, Seattle Children’s reported five additional infections at the time. Three of the affected patients were infected in 2018, while the other three contracted infections from the mold sometime before the rooms were closed in May.

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For this latest incident, the hospital says some less urgent surgeries may be postponed or moved to another area hospital. More pressing surgeries will take place in ORs “that have more advanced in-room filtration.”

Seattle Children’s is not sure how long these closures will last as it continues to investigate the issue.

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