Elizabeth Hutt, a five-month-old girl, had been battling an Aspergillus mold infection for months and “just couldn’t beat it,” her family said Thursday in a statement through their attorney, Karen Koehler.
The boy was born in August in a Tacoma hospital but was transferred to the Seattle Children’s Hospital the following day for “treatment of underdeveloped left heart and other related conditions,” according to the cause.
She may have been infected during an open heart surgery in August and a second surgery she had in November to deal with a complication, says the cause.
“The wonderful doctors and staff at Seattle Children’s Hospital worked hard and compassionately to save our baby’s life. But her healing chances were taken away when an operating room infected her with Aspergillus mold.” the family said in their statement Thursday.
“He grew up inside her and he just couldn’t beat him. He should never have suffered so much. We are shocked as we wait for the administration’s answers as to why their building has been allowed to harm our baby and many other children.” , added the statement.
Reached Thursday by CNN, a hospital spokesman did not confirm the death but responded with a statement:
“Losing a baby is incredibly devastating for everyone whose lives have been touched by that baby,” says the statement. “Our deepest condolences go to families and loved ones who have suffered a loss. Out of respect for the privacy of our patients and their families, Seattle Children will not share any further information.”
The rare fatal consequences of mold
Aspergillus is a common mold in which most people breathe without getting sick, but it represents a greater risk for those with weakened immune systems or lung diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health problems can include allergic reactions, lung infections and other organ infections.
Previous mold infections in hospitals have also had fatal consequences.
Those who died from the infection were transplant patients. Both the hospital and the facility that managed the hospital’s linen tested positive for mold, according to the report.
Gregory Lemos of CNN contributed to this report.