Autopsy shows fungal infection played role in death of UPMC patient

An autopsy of a Pittsburgh-based UPMC heart transplant patient revealed that a fungal infection played a role in her death, an attorney told the Tribune-Review.

This contradicts UPMC's claims that the deaths of three transplant patients at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore hospitals could not be directly attributed to fungal infections possibly linked to mold found in the facilities.

"It deeply bothers the [patient's] family that UPMC made statements that there is no confirmation that the fungus caused any of these deaths," James Dattilo, the attorney, told the Tribune-Review. "That is the only reason I am putting the autopsy out there. Fungal infections clearly played a role."

After UPMC discovered that four transplant patients suffered fungal infections within a year span, the system temporarily closed its transplant program to seek a source of the infection. While mold was found in one of UPMC Presbyterian's intensive care units, an investigation did not yield a definitive source of the fungal infections.

UPMC cannot address specific patient cases due to privacy laws, according to the Trib, but Steven Shapiro, MD, UPMC's chief medical and scientific officer, told the paper that the four affected patients "had very difficult prognoses with our without the complicating infection."

More articles on infection control:
Transplant program reopens at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore
New interim guidance on HVAC in the OR, sterile processing department
Hospital finds hand hygiene compliance goes up after eliminating mandatory glove use

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