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September 18, 2015: Pittsburgh Hospital Reports Three Deaths Linked to Mold Contamination

A mold-borne illness outbreak at two separate University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) campuses has been linked to the deaths of three transplant patients and has left a fourth patient in “guarded condition” according to a statement posted on the hospital’s website and attributed to Steven D. Shapiro, M.D., UPMC chief medical and scientific officer.

Mold was first detected in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU) at the UPMC Presbyterian campus earlier in September 2015. As a result, the CTICU was closed and 18 patients were moved out of the unit. Two of the transplant patients who died, and the patient who is in “guarded condition” all stayed in the CTICU.

On September 17, 2015, a UPMC liver transplant patient passed away at a second hospital campus, UPMC Montefiore. According to the statement “This patient had a rash that appeared to be fungal. Preliminary testing indicates that this infection is consistent with that in the three previous patients.”

As a precaution, all transplant patients at UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Montefiore will be placed on a new antifungal medication to help protect the patients from infection, until the source of the mold is discovered and the problem is remediated.

UPMC is collaborating with infectious disease experts, the Allegheny County Health Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, The Joint Commission and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address the outbreak.

According to Dr. Shapiro’s statement, additional measures include:

• Consulting with international mold and hospital environment specialist Andrew J. Streifel, with whom we’ve proactively worked in the recent past. We continue to engage local mold remediation experts.

• Consultation with the Center for Organ Donation and Recovery.

• Investigation of all commonalities among the four patients who had these rare mold-related infections.

• Ongoing, active air quality monitoring inside and outside to detect mold and dust. We have not received any concerning results.

• Precautionary replacement of microfilters in all of our air handling units.

• Deployment of our UV disinfecting robots in all of our ICUs.

The UPMC statement can be read in its entirety at UPMC Mold Statement.

Hospital Negligence and Hospital Acquired Infection Lawsuit Help

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