Medical centers and hospitals are required to abide by a number of federal standards to ensure the safety of visitors. Of these standards includes the sterilization and thorough cleansing of utensils, furniture or any device that comes in contact with the patients who inhabit these facilities. If these requirements are violated and standards are not upheld, the health of those in the building can be put in jeopardy, leading patients to ultimately develop issues that far exceed those suffered upon arrival. Talk of the upkeep of medical centers and hospitals comes in the wake of the recent deaths of five patients who contracted fungal infections at two Pittsburgh hospitals. Investigators say the presence of mold was a large factor in the deaths of these patients.
According to a report filed with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, a large presence of mold was found in the linens of two University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals. Apparently, the mold infection-related deaths have been occurring since the beginning of 2014.
Seventy year old patient Che DuVall had just gotten a lung transplant when he developed the fungal infection, he died from complications. DuVall's wife filed a wrongful death suit on his behalf. Daniel Krieg's family followed suit when the 56-year-old's mold-related infection claimed his life after a kidney transplant.
Since the release of the reports, the families of both DuVall and Krieg had realized the deaths of their loved ones was a direct result of the outbreak. They both had pneumonia infections that had required the removal of their lungs, making them vulnerable to fungal infections.
In cases involving two other patients who had succumbed to the mold outbreak, the medical center settled at an amount of $1.35 million without initiating litigation. The fifth patient is currently unnamed, but they passed away in the transplant unit on one of the medical center campuses.
The 16-page analysis highlighted alarming details regarding the mold outbreak. The data reveals that the hospital has been growing the fungal for several years. Evidence of mold was spotted in nearly every area tested of the Paris Healthcare Linen facility - a company in Dubois, Pennsylvania responsible for handling the medical facilities' linen. And each Pittsburgh hospital acquired an excessive buildup of lint and mold by the vent that unfiltered air dried linens in each facility.
Despite the unfortunate deaths of its patients, the hospital has continued to contract for its linen's from Parish Healthcare Linens. Investigators deemed the mold as commonplace and harmless for healthy people to be exposed to, however, they emphasized that people with a weakened immune system may be put in grave danger if exposed.
Questions surrounding whether or not the conditions of the healthcare linen facility have been posed. After all, they must abide by standards set by the Hospital Laundry Accreditation Council. As to whether those standards are being met, hospital environmental specialist Andrew Striefel says he rather not say. The bereaved families, along with their attorneys, hope the report will urge the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to initiate an investigation at the hospitals.
If you or someone you know whose health has been harmed due to the negligence of an individual, organization or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important you talk to an attorney so you can be advised of your legal rights. Contact us online or call 1-888-435-7946 (888-HELPWIN) for a free consultation. We serve all of the state of Pennsylvania from our offices in Philadelphia, Reading and Bala Cynwyd. There is never a charge to speak with us about your legal rights.