PITTSBURGH — A lawsuit announced Tuesday blames the death of a sixth patient on mold at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals.
John Haines, 65, of Upper Saint Clair, was being treated for leukemia and bacterial pneumonia at UPMC Shadyside. Haines died less than a month later, on Oct. 7, and investigators said they found rhizopus in his lungs.
The wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against UPMC and Paris Healthcare Linen Service, which is the hospital’s linen vendor.
The Haines family released the following statement late Tuesday night:
Attorneys for the Haines family are calling on the Centers for Disease Control to return to UPMC to conduct an investigation, because they believe there could be more victims.
During a news conference Tuesday, attorneys Jerry Meyers and Brendan Lupetin laid out their case against UPMC and Paris Companies, which provides linens to all 22 UPMC facilities.
"Any hospital of the 22-hospital health system with immune-compromised patients is at risk," attorney Jerry Meyers said.
Five other deaths that are being blamed on mold occurred at UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Montefiore. Families of two of those patients are also targeting the linen vendor in their lawsuits.
"Here's another type of immune-suppressed patient that needlessly developed this very, very rare type of fungal infection and we expect there will be more in the future," Lupetin said.
In January, their attorneys filed a 16-page report they received from UPMC's attorneys in which experts said they found the same kind of mold that allegedly killed both patients at the Paris Linens plant about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Dubois, Pennsylvania.
Dave Stern, chief executive officer of Paris Companies, issued a statement that argues the linens were not the source of the fungal infection. Stern said:
"Paris Companies consistently meets or exceeds accreditation standards and regulatory guidelines for laundering linens, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to quality and safety. We continue to cooperate with all regulatory agencies involved in the oversight of linen processing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health both reviewed the facts in this case. Neither agency identified linens as the source of the problem."
With regard to the most recent lawsuit, officials from UMPC issued the following statement Tuesday:
Stay with Channel 11 News and WPXI.com for continuing coverage.
- Cardiothoracic ICU at UPMC Presby shut down due to mold infestation (Sept. 14, 2015)
- 2 patients who contracted mold infections at UPMC Presby have died (Sept. 17, 2015)
- UPMC announces death of 3rd patient who contracted mold infection (Sept. 18, 2015)
- UPMC temporarily halts transplants due to mold problem (Sept. 21, 2015)
- 11 Investigates: Another UPMC transplant patient died after contracting fungal infection (July 11, 2016)
- Family settles mold death suit against UPMC (Sept. 7, 2016)
- Autopsy reveals UPMC transplant patient contracted same mold infection that led to others' deaths (Aug. 18, 2016)
- Lawsuit filed by family of 5th UPMC transplant patient to die after contracting fungal infection (Oct. 12, 2016)
Cox Media Group