Seattle Children’s hospital has reopened 14 of its operating rooms after one patient died and five others developed an infection from mold following surgical procedures over the last two years.
The hospital closed the operating rooms in May after routine testing detected aspergillus in several ORs and in equipment storage areas. The closure resulted in roughly 1,000 surgeries being moved to other hospitals, according to NBC affiliate King5 News in Seattle.
The operating rooms reopened on Thursday after the hospital deep cleaned the rooms, upgraded its air handling and purification system and installed a new humidification system.
“We want to reiterate how sorry we are for the impact that this air quality issue has had on our patients and families and that we are doing everything we can to maintain a safe environment for our patients,” hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Del Beccaro said at a news conference on Wednesday. “That is our highest priority.”
Lindsay Kurs, a spokesperson for the hospital said three patients developed aspergillus surgical site infections in 2018 and one of them died. Another three patients developed infections this year, Kurs said.
“We are deeply saddened that one of these patients died,” she said in a statement. “Out of respect for our patients’ privacy we cannot share additional details.”
Aspergillus is a fungus whose spores are present in the air, but does not normally cause illness, according to the aspergillus & aspergillosis Website. The fungus can cause disease in people who have weakened immune systems, damaged lungs or have allergies, the website states.