53 nurses, employees sickened after mold found in New York hospital

A mold-related odor sickened 53 employees on the maternity floor at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, reports NBC 4 New York.

The odor was first detected in the hospital's maternity unit this fall. The hospital moved all newborns to a backup nursery while it conducted environmental testing, which found mold at moderately elevated levels, according to a Dec. 31 statement from the hospital cited by NBC 4 New York. Investigators also discovered water-borne mold behind a sink wall.

Fifty-three employees reported symptoms, which they attributed to the mold, including dizziness, headaches and sore throats. One nurse said she saw eight employees get sick in one day, according to the Daily News.

SIUH is rebuilding the nursery and said the facility's most recent air-monitoring results came back all clear. The hospital had about 30 independent environmental tests done, none of which indicated any risk to patients.

"Hospital administration has been directly communicating with staff multiple times a week, met with union representatives numerous times and notified the appropriate regulatory agencies to proactively address this matter," SIUH Executive Director Brahim Ardolic, MD, said in a statement to NBC 4 New York. "Our main focus has been to properly mitigate the nursery area to continue providing care in the safest environment possible for our patients and staff." 

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