A whistleblower claims that mold growth has been found at Normal Regional Hospital. The whistleblower says that construction at the hospital unveiled mold growing inside the walls of patient rooms. This person also claims that the contractor who was hired to do the construction isn’t cleaning up the mold like they’re supposed to.
The construction project at Normal Regional Hospital has been funded by a federal grant. According to the whistleblower’s report, the contractor who has hired to do the work refused to clean the mold and is putting the health of patients at risks.
The whistleblower share samples of what workers claim to have found on the walls in Normal Regional Health System’s Porter campus. These samples indicate that mold is clearly growing on drywall, as well as inside wallpaper.
The whistleblower said, “When you go to a hospital, it’s to get better, not to go to a mold-infested place.” The individual wishes to remain anonymous.
The individual who blew the whistle on the problem in the hospital said that mold was found in patient rooms that were being renovated. He and his co-workers claim that the mold has spread throughout the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of the hospital.
“If our tax dollars are paying for this, why are we paying for half the work?” the worker said.
A professor at OU’s College of Public Health, Dr. David Johnson, said that he can’t discuss specific cases without a thorough inspection; however, he did note that any mold growth in a hospital can be dangerous.
“If the right person inhales it, if you’re having a compromised immune system like someone who has had chemotherapy or radiation treatment, this is an opportunistic organism and if you inhale it and it gets deep enough in the lungs, it can cause an infection,” Dr. Johnson said. It’s for this exact reason that the CDC requires the proper cleaning of mold.
Dr. Johnson said that wiping off the mold with a diluted bleach solution and then painting the surface with a barrier paint after it has dried is all that is needed. But the whistleblower claims that this isn’t being done; instead, the individual said that the walls are just being tiled, plastered, or painted over.
The worker said that the contractor is in a “get it done mood”, meaning that the contractor isn’t taking the time to clean the mold because they want to get the work done as quickly as possible.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Norman Regional Hospital said, “It is our policy that prior to any construction, infection control risk assessments are performed using the expertise of infection, prevention, safety, engineering, and the contractor hired for the project. We take environmental concerns and the safety of our patients seriously. Construction areas are monitored continuously for cleanliness and safety and specific procedures are put into place to abate mold if it is found.”
Mold Inspection & Testing has vast experience performing mold assessments. We strongly urge Normal Regional Hospital to arrange for mold testing to ensure the safety of their patients. To speak with an MI&T spokesperson, call 405.595.0748.