More families affected by Aspergillus mold join class-action lawsuit against Seattle Children’s

VIDEO: More families affected by Aspergillus mold join class-action lawsuit against Seattle Children?s

SEATTLE — People who contracted Aspergillus while at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital have filed another lawsuit, and this time, it’s a class-action lawsuit.

The suit alleges that Children’s Hospital “kept a deadly secret” and that the hospital “engaged in a cover-up designed to reassure its patients, doctors, nurses, and the public that its premises were safe, when in fact they were not.”

Parents Katha and Micah Hutt from Lacey say their baby girl, Elizabeth Hutt, contracted Aspergillus during either or both of her surgeries at Children’s Hospital in August or November of 2019.

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The baby’s girl’s surgeries took place during a period when Children’s reopened its operating rooms, in between two outbreaks.

The lawsuit says Children’s Hospital “represented that its operating rooms were safe” and opened them on July 4 after a shutdown. Then closed them again on Nov. 10. “This is when the Defendant admitted that the Aspergillus contamination outbreak had never been resolved in the first place,” the lawsuit says.

Elizabeth is now 5 months old and continues to fight for her life.

The Washington State Department of Health released a statement Wednesday in regards to their on-site investigation of Seattle Children’s Hospital:

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has completed an on-site investigation of Seattle Children’s Hospital. This investigation was initiated in November 2019 after the hospital self-reported a case of Aspergillus to us. We looked at governance, physical environment, infection control, and quality assurance. Based on our extensive interviews and reviews of the environment, we found that they were following the rules. DOH found no evidence of deficient practices, but during the course of the investigation, inspectors verified the presence of mold on the premises. Serious mitigation efforts are currently underway to address the mold, including major HVAC renovation to address the airflow system in several operating rooms. This action is being undertaken by the hospital. Members of the DOH Construction Review Services team will coordinate with Seattle Children’s until the HVAC renovation project is complete.

The Department of Health’s role as a regulator is to ensure all facilities in the state of Washington comply with licensing standards. Those standards require hospitals to maintain a safe physical environment, and when problems occur, determine root causes, and put steps in place to prevent future occurrences.