Family Sues Seattle Children’s Hospital For Mold Found in Baby’s Heart After Surgery Causes Serious Illness
As reported on seattletimes.com, the family of a baby boy who ended up in critical condition after open-heart surgery at Seattle Children’s hospital has brought a negligence suit against the hospital for failure to disclose unsafe conditions in the hospital’s operating rooms. The infant – who was only six days old at the time he underwent open-heart surgery at Seattle Children’s hospital in October, 2019 – became gravely ill with a mold infection in his heart one-month post-surgery. The plaintiffs explain that they would not have chosen to have the surgery at Seattle Children’s hospital had they known about the mold issue. The family has had to rent an apartment near the hospital and says that their son has had respiratory and heart failure and needs another surgery. He may not be ready for release until his first birthday in September.
Unfortunately, the hospital has been struggling to eliminate Aspergillus mold in its operating rooms for almost twenty years. The hospital is aware of 14 children who have become infected with mold; six of whom died.
The hospital closed their operating rooms in spring 2019 after they had become aware of several Aspergillus infections caused by small gaps in the walls of operating rooms and the failure of the air filters to remove the mold from the air. According to an investigation by the health department, the hospital’s infection-prevention department wanted to limit high-risk surgeries to operating rooms with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. When operating rooms were reopened after July 4, no mold was detected in testing. The chief medical officer and chief surgeon made the decision to re-open operating rooms without HEPA air filters for heart surgeries in September based on the “negative air samples, statistical analysis and space and staffing considerations that could affect patient safety.”
The report notes that the operating room where the baby boy had his procedure was not outfitted with a HEPA filter. When a blood test post-surgery showed that the mold had infected the baby’s original surgical site, staff collected air samples which came back positive for Aspergillus. The hospital closed its operating rooms again.
Suing a hospital for negligence
When a hospital doesn’t perform in a way that meets accepted standards of care and this results in the injury of a patient, there may be a legitimate medical malpractice claim against a hospital. An injured patient or the family of a deceased person has a legal right to file a medical malpractice claim in order to recover damages. In this situation, the hospital failed to provide a sanitary environment.
Discuss the case with a medical malpractice attorney to confirm whether the hospital acted negligently. If the attorney believes that negligence can be established, they will seek medical records and other evidence as well as interview medical experts who may be retained as expert witnesses. After evidence is gathered, the medical malpractice lawyer will draft and file a complaint.
Seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney
If you were injured because of medical negligence or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a medical negligence lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing medical malpractice attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing people injured by medical negligence in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!