City News Service

No Elective Surgeries at County-USC After Mold Contaminates Sterilization Room

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 Friday.

"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.

Spellberg said in an internal memo that the facility, which is one of the nation's largest public hospitals with 600 beds, can still disinfect some equipment for trauma cases.

Everything else must be canceled. Only dental procedures, which have equipment sterilized elsewhere, are clear to proceed. 

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.

Earlier in the year, a common form of fungus called Aspergillus mold spores led to six patients getting infections at Seattle Children's Hospital. One of the patients died as a result. The air filtration system turned out to be the source of the mold. 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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