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Laundry service is likely source of deadly mold outbreak


Hospitals utilize many complex machines in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, and a defect or malfunction in any one of them could cause death or serious medical complications. The bedding used by hospitals is usually taken for granted; it will be clean and comfortable and will be changed on a daily basis or at the patient's request. Recently, however, e-mails obtained by a CNN affiliate in Pittsburghpoint to hospital bedding as the likely cause of six deaths in Pittsburgh hospitals since 2014.

An investigation of the deaths pointed to heavy mold growth on the bed linens at three Pittsburgh hospitals as the cause. Five wrongful death lawsuits have been commenced against the hospitals and their laundry supplier. Three suits have been settled, and two are currently pending.

According to an e-mail obtained by CNN from a field epidemiologist for the Center for Disease Control, "fungi from Paris have been brought into" one of the hospital laundries. Another e-mail stated that Paris "is the more likely source" of the deadly fungus. The studies that pointed to the laundry service were based upon genome sequencing reports prepared by an independent laboratory.When asked about the reports, a spokesperson for the Allegheny County Health Department refused to elaborate. Neither the hospitals nor the laundry service has admitted that the bedding was the source of the fatal infections. The laundry service has not been certified as providing hygienically clean products by the Textile Rental Services Association, although the company belongs to the association.

Hospitals owe a very high degree of care to their patients to provide surroundings that are free of fungi, mold and other infectious agents. Anyone who has become ill with such an infection or, as was the case here, lost a loved one may wish to consult one of the lawyers at Leisawitz Heller in Reading who handles medical malpractice cases. A Leisawitz Heller attorney can provide helpful advice on the law and facts that will determine the outcome and also provide an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

Source: WTKR, "Emails suggest linens to be 'likely' source in deadly mold outbreak at Pittsburgh hospitals," CNN Wire, April 3, 2017

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