Seattle Hospital shuts down ORs after finding fungus


May 23, 2019

Seattle Children’s Hospital shut down four of its 14 operating rooms (OR) this week after mold was detected last weekend, forcing the facility to reschedule or move dozens of surgeries.

A routine check discovered the Aspergillus mold, according to a Seattle Times report. No date was given for when the ORs could be reopened.

“Patient safety is our top priority, and we are taking this situation very seriously,” Alyse Bernal, the hospital’s public relations manager, told the Times. “All affected operating rooms have been closed and will remain so until we are confident that the areas are clear of Aspergillus.”

Aspergillus is a common type of mold that poses a low risk to surgical patients, but Seattle Children’s is contacting about 3,000 patients who underwent procedures in the past four months, said Bernal. People with weakened immune systems or lung disease could develop complications after exposure to the mold.

About 50 surgical procedures were rescheduled, moved to Seattle Children’s Bellevue campus, or will take place in other rooms on the hospital’s Seattle campus, the Times reported.

The hospital is currently working to figure out how the ORs came to have Aspergillus in them. Its cleaning protocols include using an antimicrobial cleaner after each surgery and at the end of each day and using air filtration to keep the ORs under positive pressure, Bernal said.

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