Tainted linens may have played a part in the death of a transplant patient in a deadly mold outbreak at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Daniel Krieg, 56, died at UPMC Montefiore in Oakland last July after contracting a fungal infection. Krieg was the fifth known patient at the hospital to have died since 2014. In October, his family filed a lawsuit against UPMC.
An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not pinpointed the source of the mold but lawyers for the family of the Krieg family said have new evidence that points to a linen company as the source of the infection. An amended complaint was filed by Krieg family attorney on Thursday. The complaint alleges that molds were on the linen sheets that the hospital were using. Except for Magee Women’s Hospital, all of UPMC hospitals use the same linen company which is based in DuBois, Pennsylvania.
The CDC had launched investations after several transplant patients contracted fungal infections and died at the UPMC Presbyterian. According to the CDC, the culprit was the ventilation system found in negative pressure rooms. However, Krieg family lawyers amended their lawsuit to include the new evidence about the deadly molds in the linens. UPMC officials say that they are now using specially treated linens for transplant patients.
According to UPMC, they continue to be transparent with federal and state health regulators and had shared all their findings with the investigatory bodies. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health failed to determine the source of the fungal infections. UPMC have settled other cases in connection with the mold outbreak. Shelby Slagle, 27 after undergoing a heart transplant, died in June 2015. UPMC have settled for $1.35 million in September. The Fischer family received $1.35 million in settlement after Tracy Fischer died in October 2014 as reported in News WPXI.
UPMC’s hired investigator, Mr. Streifel was suspicious of the laundry from the beginning. In September 2015, before he was hired by UPMC, Mr. Streifel stated that based on what he knew from the initial reports about the infections the patients had contracted, he thought that the laundry was a possible culprit as the first three patients’ infections began on the outside of their bodies. According to Mr. Streifel, it made him suspicious of the laundry as reported in Pittsburg Post-Gazette.