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Baby with heart condition dies after mold exposure at Seattle hospital, her family says

Health News

SEATTLE (KOMO/CNN) – A 6-month-old baby hospitalized in Seattle for a heart problem has died after she acquired an infection from mold at the hospital, her mother says.

Elizabeth “Beth” Hutt was born with a heart condition and fought all six months of her short life. Her mother, Katha Hutt, shared Wednesday on Facebook that Beth had died early that morning at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

After undergoing three open heart surgeries at the hospital, Beth developed an Aspergillus mold infection. The dangerous mold was detected in the facility’s operating rooms in November around the time of Beth’s third surgery.

Beth’s mother said in January that her daughter was struggling to recover from the surgeries because of the infection.

“I’m always going to wonder if there were different interventions that could’ve taken place, had the Aspergillus not been there,” she said.

Seattle Children’s provided a response in the wake of Beth’s death but would not share additional information over privacy concerns.

“Losing a child is incredibly devastating for everyone whose lives were touched by that child,” the response read. “Our deepest condolences go out to families and loved ones who have experienced a loss.”

Katha Hutt and her husband, Micah Hutt, say they knew the hospital had Aspergillus issues in 2018 but chose to take Beth there because of the superior doctors and medical staff. They said they were confident the mold problem had been solved.

However, the hospital revealed in November that 14 patients had developed surgical site infections from Aspergillus since 2001. They say the mold came from their air-handling units in the operating rooms.

Beth is the seventh of those 14 children to have died.

The Hutts said the doctors and medical staff at Seattle Children’s were top notch, but the hospital administration should be held accountable.

In January, they joined a class action lawsuit against the hospital, which alleges managers had known since at least 2005 that a potentially deadly mold could be related to the facility’s air-handling system but failed to remedy the problem.

As of Feb. 5, three operating rooms have been upgraded with HEPA filtration and reopened. The other 11 operating rooms are closed, as HEPA filters are being installed.


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