Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mold Found in Laundry Facility Internal Upmc Report Says Type Is Similar to What Infected 5 Patients Who Died

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mold Found in Laundry Facility Internal Upmc Report Says Type Is Similar to What Infected 5 Patients Who Died

Article excerpt

An internal UPMC report filed Thursday in a civil lawsuit says an investigation found mold at a Clearfield County laundry facility that washes linens for all of its 22 hospitals, including UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore hospitals where five transplant patients were infected with mold and later died.

The mold that the investigation found at the laundry facility in DuBois, as well as in a Montefiore laundry storage area, was similar to the types that infected the patients in an outbreak that led to a federal investigation and temporary shutdown of UPMC's solid organ transplant program in 2015.

That finding may finally offer a connection between the five patients and the mold infections that led to their deaths. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was unable to find a source of the mold that infected the patients when it investigated the mold outbreak in September 2015, though it cast some blame at UPMC's use of negative pressure rooms at the time.

The CDC apparently never investigated the laundry facility itself during its investigation. But after being made aware of the internal report this week, a CDC spokesman said that "it's safe to say we'll take a look at the new report you mention and if necessary we'll follow up with the state and" UPMC.

UPMC had resisted releasing the internal report - which was completed in May 2016 by noted mold expert Andrew Streifel -to the attorneys for two of the patients' families, said Brendan Lupetin, an attorney for the families of Che DuVall and David Krieg.

"I didn't think UPMC would ever let us get this" report, Mr. Lupetin said Thursday.

He said his office only knew about it because of a tip that came in to their office, which proved to be accurate, that after an initial investigation in fall 2015, UPMC later called Mr. Streifel back to investigate the hospital laundry and the location where it is cleaned, Paris Healthcare Linen Services in DuBois, in February 2016.

In response Thursday, UPMC said in a statement it posted on its blog, in part, that: "We continue to be transparent with federal and state health regulators and we shared all our findings with them. …

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