Hospital Not Sick
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
The Children's Hospital at AGH opened about a year ago. Since then, 5 children contracted a fungus infection and 6 others were moved out. But officials claim the building wasn't the cause.
The 5 young cancer patients caught an infection over a 5-month span beginning in April. Each child got a different variety of a fungal infection, with one getting two fungi. That's some of the evidence that leads investigators to not believe that the children caught the fungi from a single source or from each other.
"The acquisition of these fungal infections is not linked to the building that is AGH," says Shands CEO Tim Goldfarb. "There is no link to any individual, any equipment or any supplies."
Goldfarb hoped to calm the nerves of the patients, their parents and nurses and doctors who were worried about getting sick.
An internal investigative team looked at patient's charts and menus, tested the air, ventilation system and other items. All results returned negative for the fungi.
Since each fungus is commonly found elsewhere, especially in fruits and vegetables, investigators say the children got sick outside of the hospital.
"These children were in a variety of environments including the hospital," says Dr. Robert Lawrence UF Clinical Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. "These infections could have been acquired in any number of settings, given how common fungi are in Florida."
Four of the five children are still healthy enough to continue with their cancer treatment.
Goldfarb says he's confident the building is safe but he will be conducting an external review soon to see if they verify what his team discovered. For now, he says it's business as usual at Shands AGH.
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