SEATTLE — Seattle Children’s hospital admits that its own negligence led to a mold infection in one of its operating rooms in 2019, but says the aspergillus mold did not cause any harm to a 2-year-old patient.
Hospital lawyers made their closing arguments to a jury in the six-week trial from a lawsuit filed by the parents of “H.K.” who underwent brain surgery in April of 2019.
The surgical team removed a flap of skull bone from the boy’s head to access his brain. After the procedure, the skull bone tested positive for aspergillus – a mold that has been a problem in the hospital’s operating rooms.
Seven patients have died from hospital-acquired mold infections since 2001 and more than a dozen others have been injured.
But lawyers said the hospital shouldn’t be liable for damages because the doctors did not reattach the infected skull section, and H.K. was never harmed.
“He didn’t have any infection. Whether he was exposed or not there was no harm done to (H.K.). There was no presence of aspergillus in his body,” said Seattle Children’s lawyer Jake Winfrey.
The hospital and the University of Washington, whose doctors treated H.K., said the boy was disabled by a rare aneurysm and not because of the care by the treatment team.
H.K.’s lawyers said the plastic skull piece that the doctors used to replace the boy’s skull bone led to complications that caused his disability.
“As a corporation you don’t commit negligence and not acknowledge that you damaged the patient,” said Karen Koehler, who filed the suit that initially sought more than $40 million from the hospital and university for damages.
The King County jury is expected to begin deliberations on Thursday.