Avoid Deadly Mold On Linens

Avoid Deadly Mold On Linens | by AJ Durtschi

Andrew Streifel said, “I would put my money on it.” He was referring to the odds that linens supplied to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh were contaminated with “heavy fungal growth.”

The mold outbreak on bed sheets at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital is believed to have contributed to the death of five patients who contracted fungal-related infections.

According to TRIB Live, “Streifel, a hospital environment specialist with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, was hired in 2016 by UPMC to investigate its laundry supplier, Paris Healthcare Linen Service. On May 2, he and a colleague issued a report indicating they found heavy amounts of Rhizopus mold at the laundry facility and on its roof.”

There were also “heavy fungal growth” of Rhizopus on the “wet sheets collected from the UPMC laundry carts.” Streifel also tested one of the cleanest sheets from the middle of a pile of “clean linens” which tested conclusively for the fungal growth. While it is an ongoing investigation, there is enough evidence-based findings and actions to encourage examination of linen care and cleaning, handling of linens, transportation of linens, and storage and use of linens.

The fact was that there was something “deadly” wrong with the laundry.

As I’ve stated in previous articles, dirty or improperly handled, or improperly cleaned linens and hospital uniforms do endanger lives. UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh appears to be the proof.

What should be done?

Linen and hospital facilities should be held to the highest standards internally as well as oversight by state and federal regulatory agencies.

Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other emergency or day surgery facilities should provide employees with clean uniforms on a daily basis and prohibit employees from wearing them in public or taking them home.

A close examination of cleaning, handling, delivery, and storage of linens should be made, and a protocol established that is followed and managed without exception.

This would be a good start and one that could save lives.

Do you need a better linen strategy for your clinic, hospital, doctor’s office, or surgical center?