• Lawsuit accuses Seattle Children's of 'systemic cover-up'

    By: Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - A new lawsuit filed Monday about deadly mold at Seattle Children's Hospital says the problem goes back nearly two decades and is tied to six deaths. The suit also claims hospital leadership knew about the problem and has engaged in a cover up.

    The new allegations are shaking parents to the core, as is reflected on the KIRO Facebook page, where reactions range from disappointment and sadness and to anger.

    "Because hospital infections are so dangerous you gotta have somebody non-stop," said a father standing outside Children's Monday night.

    The father's two-year-old son is being treated at Seattle Children's hospital, so he declined to reveal his name.

    He says the deadly aspergillus mold crisis the hospital is facing gave him pause.

    "And actually it was my third choice just because of this issue," he said.

    On Monday, a group of lawyers announced they filed what they hope will be a class-action lawsuit against Children's Hospital.

    "This action is really targeted against the management," said lawyer Karen Koehler.

    She says their case is "about a systemic cover up that's existed now for almost 19 years."

    Just three weeks ago, a contrite Children's CEO, Doctor Jeff Sperring, met with reporters.

    "I need to start by saying I'm sorry," Sperring said on November 18.

    He insisted they only just discovered the link between the mold outbreak and the hospital's air handling system.

    "Looking back, we should have made the connection sooner," Sperring said.

    But John Layman, a lawyer who spoke by Skype from Spokane says his 2008 lawsuit against Children's already exposed the connection, and says those running Children's should have known.

    "It's the board's responsibility," said Layman. "This is a hospital; private, not for profit. They have a fiduciary obligation to their patients and their families."

    KIRO 7 went looking for answers at the home of hospital board chair Susan Mask, to ask about the current and past lawsuits, but no one answered the door. 

    The lawyers say Children's Hospital has not yet been served with the lawsuit, but hospital officials say they will not comment on patients nor on legal action.


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