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Mold responsible for five deaths at Pittsburgh hospitals

Severe mold contamination was discovered in the linens used at two University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals. Five deaths linked to mold exposure have also occurred at these hospitals, according to a report.

The report was filed with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in two wrongful-death lawsuits that the families of the deceased filed filed against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Daniel Krieg, who was 56, had a mold-related infection after he underwent a kidney transplant. Krieg was the fifth transplant recipient to perish as a result of a mold infection in transplant units at University of Pittsburgh Presbyterian and Montefiore campuses in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Krieg’s family, together with the wife of CheDuVall, 70, who also perished as a result of infection complications that developed after a lung transplant, filed a lawsuit against the hospital for the wrongful death of their loved ones.

The lawsuits filed against the hospital by family members of two other patients who died as a result of the mold outbreak were settled out of court. The hospital settled the cases for $1.35 million each.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center confidentially commissioned the report after three patients diet. Andrew Streifel and Michael Buck, environmental specialists for the hospital, wrote the report.

The report, which contained 16 pages, documented the evidence of mold at the hospitals, as well as almost every area tested at the Paris Healthcare Linen facility, the facility that handled the linen for the hospital.

Brendan Lupetin, a Pittsburgh-based attorney, filed amended complaints on behalf of Kreig’sfamly and ChDuVall’s wife. He submitted the lab reports with the lawsuit. Paris Cos was named as the defendant in the case. The new complaints demanded a trial by jury.

Paris Cos stated that it can’t comment on ongoing litigation; however, Dave Stem, the CEO, did offer a statement, in which he said, “Every day, Paris Companies processes and delivers hygienically safe linens to hospitals and health care institutions across Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and West Virginia.”

The medical center also issued a statement, in which it said that it cannot comment on allegations; however, they will “continue to work closely with health officials to ensure the safest possible environment for patient care.”

Streifel and Buck visited the hospitals to test linens that were received from Paris Cos. They found a cart of wet sheets were delivered to Montefiore laundry storage area had “heavy fungal growth of Mucor and rhizopus,” the report stated.

A heavy accumulation of lint and mold were found near the vent through which unfiltered air dried linens went to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facilities.

Both Kreig and DuVall had rhizopus-positive pneumonia infections that necessitated the removal of several lubes from their lungs.

Mold Inspection & Testing Pittsburgh has been performing mold assessments in facilities throughout the city. We strongly urge the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers to have regular mold tests performed within their facilities to make sure that their patients are not exposed to mold. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 412.444.5374.

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