A confidential report commissioned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (“UPMC”) in September 2015 following the mold-related deaths of three implant patients at two of its hospital facilities reportedly found mold present at its outside contracted laundry facility that handled its linens. The report was received by UPMC in May 2016 but was only recently filed in court on January 19, 2017 in two Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuits filed against UPMC by the families of two UPMC transplant patients who had died from mold-related infections.
The report found heavy mold infestation in the linens processed by the outside laundry that were used at two of the UPMC hospitals where five transplant patients have died since October 2014 from mold infections, according to reports.
The report was filed in two pending wrongful death lawsuits involving a 70-year-old man who died from a mold infection following a lung transplant at a UPMC hospital and a 56-year-old man who died from a mold-related infection following a kidney transplant at a UPMC hospital, who was the fifth patient to die from a mold infection who were in hospital rooms in the transplant units at two UPMC hospitals.
The families of two other transplant patients who died from mold-related infections reportedly settled their wrongful death claims against UPMC for $1.35 million each.
The report found mold in nearly every area tested by two environmental specialists at the outside laundry facility, which provides laundry services for hospitals in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and West Virginia. The environmental specialists reportedly found a heavy buildup of lint and mold near a vent that provided unfiltered air to dry the linens that were provided to the UPMC hospitals. The environmental specialists also reportedly found a heavy fungal growth of Mucor and rhizopus in a cart of wet sheets that had been delivered to one of the UPMC hospitals and had been placed in a laundry storage unit at the hospital.
The two patients whose deaths are the subject of the two pending mold-infection wrongful death lawsuits against UPMC had lobes of their lungs removed due to rhizopus-positive pneumonia, which was diagnosed as a result of autopsies.
As of May 2016, UPMC still contracted with the outside laundry for linens at 22 of its 25 hospitals.
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health has stated, “The facts of this investigation don’t support the conclusion that infections resulted from exposure to linens.” A CDC investigation had concluded that the fatal infections at UPMC were not attributed to mold-covered linens but were due to ventilation problems at the hospital that may have allowed dust along with mold spores to enter the patients’ hospital rooms.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) due to a mold infection acquired in a hospital in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a hospital malpractice lawyer in Pennsylvania or a hospital malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your hospital infection claim for you and represent you in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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