No elective surgeries are being performed at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for an estimated two weeks because of mold contamination in a room used to sterilize surgical equipment, it was reported Thursday.
“The Central Sterile processing room, which disinfects all (operating room) and procedural supplies for clinical areas, is suffering from severe water damage and mold contamination and must be closed immediately,” Chief Medical Officer Brad Spellberg wrote in a message to the hospital’s attending physicians and residents on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 600-bed facility, one of the nation’s largest public hospitals, can still disinfect a small amount of surgical equipment, to be used for trauma cases, Spellberg wrote in the staff memo, with all other procedures, except dentistry, which sterilizes its equipment at an alternative location, to be canceled.
An unsigned statement sent to The Times on Thursday afternoon from the Department of Health Services’ Office of Communications said: “We have no evidence that mold has affected any surgical instruments. No patients have been infected or harmed.”
It’s not clear what type of mold was found at the hospital or who discovered it.
Aspergillus mold spores, a very common form of the fungus, were discovered in the air filtration system of Seattle Children’s Hospital earlier this year, according to The Times. That led to confirmed infections in six patients, one of whom died. Hospital administrators sent notifications to 3,000 patients warning them to be vigilant for signs of possible infection.
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