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caption: Elizabeth Hutt has an Aspergillus infection after multiple surgeries at Seattle Children's Hospital for a congenital heart defect.
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Elizabeth Hutt has an Aspergillus infection after multiple surgeries at Seattle Children's Hospital for a congenital heart defect.
Credit: Courtesy of Katie and Micah Hutt

Another family joins lawsuit against Seattle Children's over mold contamination

Five month-old, Beth, was infected by Aspergillus months after the hospital said its mold problems were fixed.

Katie and Micah Hutt say they breathed a sigh of relief last May when Seattle Children’s Hospital said it was cleaning up its mold problems.

Months later, their baby daughter Beth got infected.

“We had nurses cry with us when they found out the diagnosis,” Katie Hutt said.

The couple still trusts the medical staff, they said.

“It’s the side of it that runs the building, is what we have a problem with,” Micah Hutt said.

The Hutts have joined a lawsuit against the hospital over Aspergillus contamination and an alleged cover up. It’s one of half a dozen lawsuits pending against Seattle Children’s (read the most recent complaint document from the lawsuit below).

Five month-old Beth is still at the hospital, being treated for the infection and a congenital heart defect.

Beth tested positive for as Aspergillus infection approximately three weeks after a second surgery in Mid-November 2019 and started on prophylactic anti-fungal medicine right away, Katie Hutt said.

That was months after Children’s said in July that it was addressing the issues and the risk to patients was low. Children’s has admitted to infections and deaths from Aspergillus dating back to 2001.

“We want accountability (for Children’s) to take the necessary steps to prevent stuff like this,” Katie Hutt said. “We should be able to trust that the administration is providing a safe environment for the surgeons to do their job in.”

The lawsuit alleges Children’s knew about problems in the air-handling system twenty years ago, including dirty conditions and dead birds in fan shafts.

The lawsuit alleges that information about negligent maintenance practices that arose in a 2008 lawsuit was kept secret, and an engineering consultant hired by Children’s in 2002 was sacked when she explained her concerns about poor maintenance of the air-handling system to management.

“It’s a betrayal of the highest order to have that garbage going on in such a revered place,” said attorney Karen Koehler who represents the plaintiffs.

In an email, Seattle Children’s public relations said, “We are working diligently to resolve these issues, including the claims that have been brought against Seattle Children’s related to past surgical site infections. We are incredibly sorry for the impact this situation has had on our patients and families."