In recent news, Seattle Children’s Hospital closed off 10 of its existing operating rooms in order to install a new set of air filtration machinery. This move was announced after reports of 6 patients dying from mold infections surfaced in the hospital. Jeff Sperring, the CEO of Seattle Children’s mentioned during the news conference held on Monday that till date the team has been unsuccessful in preventing the onset of aspergillus infections.
Between the years 2001 & 2018, around 14 patients were reported to have developed a serious case of surgical infections caused due to aspergillus. Among these 14 patients, 6 were eventually reported dead. Sperring also mentioned that back then these incidents were believed to be isolated cases. However, with time, it has been confirmed that the infection is air-borne and the obvious causal factor is the existing air-filtration system.
This connection should have been made sooner in order to avoid more deaths. However, the hospital failed to do so in time and the mold kept on spreading. As of now, the hospital authority has decided to install two air handlers that are custom-built to eradicate any possibility of aspergillus infection. Apart from that, an in-room air filtration system with HEPA support shall be included to ensure maximum safety in the operating rooms. HEPA filters are known to remove about 99.97 percent of the particles that occupy the air in the area. This is the best in terms of modern-day technology.
In his statement, Sperring also apologized to the ones affected by the unwanted shutdown of operating rooms and those who were suffering from aspergillus infections. Reports obtained from the state as well as the county’s health departments suggest that this mold has been an on-and-off issue at the hospital for long. In the year 2018, a resident surgeon reported that a chunk of debris fell down from the air diffuser into the open abdomen of the patient during surgery.
These latest improvements to the air filtration assembly for the hospital is expected to be completed by January 2020 end. Till then, all the originally scheduled surgeries will be handled by other hospitals. A statement from the hospital apologized to the patients for this inconvenience. The statement also cited that this closure was to ensure that there are no future cases of such infections due to lack on behalf of the management. Some well-known symptoms of aspergillus infection include hotness and swelling.