'Simply put, we failed': Seattle Children's CEO discloses 6 patient deaths linked to mold

Seattle Children's Hospital will keep 10 operating rooms closed through January due to the presence of Aspergillus mold, according to ABC affiliate KOMO News.

The hospital plans to install custom in-room high efficiency particulate air filtration in the 10 operating rooms and two equipment storage rooms, KOMO News reports. The installations were initially slated for completion in July, but are now planned to be finished in January. 

Seattle Children's currently has three functioning operating rooms, but many surgical cases are being postponed or diverted, hospital officials said. The hospital apologized for the impact the OR closures will have on patients and their families, but said it is the safest option, according to KOMO News.  

The most recent mold issues have sickened one patient, and a second potential case is under investigation. Since 2001, 14 patients have gotten sick from the mold, and six have died, Jeff Sperring, MD, CEO of Seattle Children's Hospital, said in a Nov. 18 news conference cited by The Seattle Times. It is now suspected that an air-handling system serving the operating rooms is to blame for some of the earlier infections, according to Dr. Sperring. 

"Looking back, we should have made the connection sooner," Dr. Sperring said. "Simply put, we failed. As CEO I hold myself and Children's to a higher standard."

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