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15 more children and their families, through their attorneys Stritmatter Firm and Layman Firm,  have brought a motion to join the Class Action lawsuit against Seattle Children’s Hospital for potentially deadly Aspergillus fungus exposure.  Because four cases in the group have now settled, this means there are a total of19 cases remaining.

The complaint alleges that between 2000 and 2019, Seattle Children’s did not notify the public, its doctors, nurses, or its patients or their parents that there were problems with the maintenance of its air-handling system.  Even when hospitalized child patients became sickened by Aspergillus, Seattle Children’s concealed its culpability.

In 2019, after seven infections and one death were connected to the latest outbreak of Aspergillus in the hospital, Seattle Children’s looked back at prior cases and identified seven more illnesses and five deaths between 2001 and 2014.  Only then did Defendant admit that Aspergillus exposure had been evident at the hospital for 18 years.

One of these tragic cases involved Ana Hernandez, a teenage mom, who in 2014 was treated at Seattle Children’s for a brain tumor of a type that was usually curable.  The surgery seemed to go well and she went home to Wenatchee.  But her condition immediately worsened.  She was airlifted back to Seattle Children’s where doctors tried to figure out what was wrong.  Finally and much too late – they found that Aspergillus was inside Ana’s brain.  The only way the fungus could have ended up there was by invading what should have been a sterile operating room and entering her brain during the actual surgery.  Ana died an excruciating death.  The fungus completely destroyed her brain.  Ana’s little girl is now being raised by her grandmothers. 

The lawsuit alleges that Seattle Children’s never told Ana’s mom that it was to blame for the fungus exposure and Ana’s death.   Most of the other child patients and their parents also claim they were never told that Seattle Children’s had a serious Aspergillus problem.  A motion for class certification is now pending.

At the same time, a major medical negligence lawsuit has been filed against Seattle Children’s for misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment in 2019 that has left a toddler from Kirkland with permanent and profound brain injuries.  To make matters worse, a piece of the child’s skull that had been surgically removed was infected with Aspergillus in the hospital and had to be destroyed.  The lawsuit alleges that H. K was taken by his parents to the ER with complaints of headache and change of behavior.  A CT scan was taken that showed some bleeding in the brain.  The radiologist and neurosurgeons however completely missed that there was a large aneurysm present and visible in the films. A second CT scan was taken also showing the aneurysm which again was missed.  The doctors intended to obtain an MRI study but postponed the procedure.  The child spent the night at the hospital with his parents and the next morning suffered a medical emergency called a Cushing’s triad which are warning signs of an impending cerebral event.  A nurse asked for assistance but none came.  An hour and a half later, the nurse called code blue but it was too late.  The aneurysm burst.  The child was rushed to surgery where about one-third of his skull was removed.  The aneurysm was clipped but severe brain damage had resulted.  Later when it was time to reattach the skull piece, it was discovered to be contaminated by Aspergillus and had to be destroyed.  As a result of the alleged negligence, H.K. suffered a brain injury resulting in right-sided weakness including loss of use of his right hand, spasticity of his lower limb, language and speech impediments, cognitive deficits, and impaired activities of daily living.