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Hospital negligence exposes patients to moldy linens

The idea that there might be active layers of mold in the hospital sheets and blankets covering up sick and wounded patients is absolutely cringe-worthy.

Unfortunately, that was the reality for at least six patients who died as a result of hospital negligence that allowed mold-infected linens to be used in three Pennsylvania hospitals. All three hospitals, including two University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers and Shadyside Hospital, used the same linen company.

The worst part of the situation is that at least one of the deaths occurred well after the hospital either knew or should have known that there was a problem. Hospital officials knew there was a mold problem at least five months before one of the patients contracted a fungal infection from the linens in his own intensive care unit.

In what seems like another bewildering decision, even after the hospital's environmental specialist found rampant mold at the laundry facility that provides the linens, the hospitals have continued to contract with the same linen company. The company maintains it isn't the source of the mold.

While at least three wrongful death lawsuits have been brought against the hospital for its negligence, it's likely there will be more now that the information has become public. The families of some victims may not even realize that the source of the fungal infection that took the life of their loved one was lurking in the hospital sheets. While it was too late for one of the victims—who received the notice that he had been exposed to the deadly mold the morning of his death—other victims and their family members may not yet have received notification.

In a situation like this, both the hospital and the linen provider are likely to be defendants in any wrongful death action. The linen company had a responsibility to make sure that the linens it provided were clean and free of contaminants. The hospitals also had the responsibility of ensuring a safe, clean environment for their patients. Failing to act more quickly once they were aware of the possibility of a mold outbreak is a negligent action that exposed many patients to an unnecessary risk of harm.

If you're unsure whether or not you have a claim against a hospital for either your personal suffering or the death of another from an infection, talk to an attorney about your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Hospital Sued for Deaths Linked to Mold Outbreak," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed March 03, 2017

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