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Death of a Fourth Patient Infected During Mold Outbreak in Hospital

Maina Mehrotra10 months ago

Officials say, on Sunday, at a Western Pennsylvania hospital, a fourth transplant patient passed away after contracting a fungal infection during a mold outbreak.

About the Patient 

Che DuWall, 70, was a retired glass cutter who, in September, was diagnosed with the infection a month after his double lung transplant, according to The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 

Allison Hydzik , a spokeswoman for UPMC said, ”We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, as well as to our doctors and nurses who have worked with great compassion and skill to care for him. We again want to reassure our patients that we have taken every possible precaution to make our hospitals as safe as is humanly possible and have followed all recommendations made by federal and state regulators.”

Other Information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, according to FOX News “four organ transplant patients who developed a mold infection at UPMC likely got it from time spent in a ‘negative pressure’ room normally reserved for those who already had infections”. On September 21, the hospital suspended its transplant program, only to reopen it a week later, after a review of procedures and treatments.

The Previous Lawsuit

Last month, in Allegheny County, DuVall and his wife, Karen, had filed a lawsuit against UPMC Presbyterian, claiming the hospital recklessly housed him in a room making him more susceptible to such an infection. This is what prompted removal of parts of his new lungs.

Declining to comment on the suit, the UPMC did however maintain that the deaths cannot be directly attributed to mold. Transplant patients are more likely to pick up infections due to their weakened immune system regardless.

According to the the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Brendan Lupetin, family attorney said DuVall died Saturday morning at UPMC Presbyterian.

“Our thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time,” he said.

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