Autopsy reveals UPMC transplant patient contracted same mold infection that led to others' deaths

Autopsy reveals UPMC transplant patient contracted same mold infection that led to others’ deaths

PITTSBURGH — An autopsy report obtained by Channel 11's new partners at TribLIVE on Wednesday revealed that a recent UPMC transplant patient who died had contracted the same type of mold infection that led to others' deaths.

Daniel Krieg, 56, died July 9 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Oakland.

TribLIVE reported that the autopsy report stated Krieg developed bacterial and fungal pneumonia.

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The autopsy stated that his lungs contained rhizopus, a form of mold. He became the fifth known UPMC patient with a fungal infection to die since 2014 amid an ongoing federal investigation into mold cases at UPMC, according to TribLIVE.

"UPMC's autopsy report could not be (clearer), listing the primary cause of Dan's multi-organ failure as the same fungal infection that ravaged Che DuVall and possibly others," Krieg's attorney Brendan Lupetin told TribLIVE, adding he is considering a lawsuit in connection with Krieg's death.

The hospital released a statement earlier that the fungal infection did not play a direct part in Krieg’s death, which has been contradicted by UPMC’s own pathologist’s autopsy results.

"The family was originally disturbed when there was a statement made by UPMC that a fungal infection did not directly play a role in Dan's death, but now we have the actual proof," Lupetin said.

UPMC officials declined to comment Wednesday.

Hospital officials previously said they had made the suggested changes after the investigation.

"We have difficulty believing they're going to do anything to correct this situation," Jerry Meyer, the Krieg’s family attorney said.

The Center for Disease and Prevention Control sent Channel 11 the following statement regarding Krieg's death.

“We do not have information on an additional death from fungal infection. The state health department would be the best source of information about such questions. At this time, the CDC does not have plans to send additional investigators, and the CDC is not planning on issuing a report in the coming weeks.”

Channel 11's Aaron Martin recieved the following statement from the Pennsylvania State Health Department.

"The Department of Health would become involved in an incident like this once it is reported through the Patient Safety Reporting System (PSRS). Following this, the Department would expect the facility to conduct a thorough review of the incident  and determine if corrective action is necessary. The Department would monitor the facility to ensure implementation of a corrective action plan if one is necessary. Due to the Pennsylvania’s Disease Prevention and Control Law, the department cannot comment on any specific report or the details of an individual investigation.
 
The Department has been, and is, working with ACHD, UPMC and CDC in this ongoing investigation and  continues to monitor the hospital closely for further mold infections as prevention efforts continue."