Seattle Children's Hospital cited for deadly mold problems

SEATTLE — Seattle Children's Hospital has been cited for multiple federal safety violations related to mold that led to a patient death and five additional infections, officials said.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a report listing more than two dozen violations of federal regulations and hospital policy, KING-TV reported Thursday.

The facility detected Aspergillus mold during a routine test of operating rooms May 18, hospital officials said.

The hospital disclosed the death and infections Tuesday while discussing the closure in May of operating rooms because of Aspergillus mold.

Three patients were infected last year and three this year. The patient who died developed the infection in 2018, an official said.

The federal violations include a failure to properly maintain air filtering systems that fed to operating rooms, failure to inspect or calibrate monitoring equipment and failure to approve and implement an infection prevention improvement plan.

"The failure to ensure oversight of the program that prevents infections puts patients, staff and visitors at risk of harm from environmental pathogens," the report said.

The federal agency sent a letter to the hospital June 20 saying the hospital faced potential termination of its Medicare provider agreement.

"So what they found was some deficiencies in the documentation, which is not exactly the same as saying that something didn't happen," said Seattle Children's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Del Beccaro.

"But if it isn't documented, it is their observation that we didn't have sufficient oversight," he said.

The hospital submitted a plan of correction to the agency on June 27, which Beccaro said has not yet been approved.

All of the facility's main operating rooms were scheduled to reopen Thursday, he said.