According to the CDC, mucormycosis (previously called zygomycosis) is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. It mainly affects people with weakened immune systems. Once mucormycosis spreads throughout the body, disseminated mucormycosis carries an over 95% mortality rate.
There have been mucor outbreaks in American hospitals, which have led to deaths of patients. In 2008 and 2009, five children died at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans as a result of this deadly fungus. After an investigation, it was determined that the outbreak was transmitted to the children through bed linens in the hospital. Many of the families brought lawsuits against Children’s Hospital for the outbreak.
More recently, there was an outbreak at UPMC Presbyterian in Pennsylvania where four patients were infected with mucormycosis. The CDC investigated, and determined that it was the likely result of placing such patients in a negative-pressure room. Negative-pressure room increase the likelihood for immunocompromised patients to contract infections, including mucor. These rooms are designed to draw air in from the outside for patients that have contagious airborne disease in an effort to not spread disease to other patients in the hospital. However, immunocompromised patients are not supposed to be placed in such rooms, because they are more likely to become infected. Two of the cases against UPMC settled for $1.35 million each.
Water leaks and building construction in hospitals have also caused patient to acquire mucormycosis. Hospitals should have strict policies in place to guard patients against this infection, which is extremely deadly.
If you or a loved one have contracted mucormycosis in a hospital or healthcare setting please contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers. We pursue mucor related cases in Ohio and throughout the United States.