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Children died from infections related to mold
High-powered Tampa, FL, attorney Steve Yerrid, JD, says the three children at the center of the lawsuit against St. Joseph's Hospital did not have to die from toxic mold. If only the hospital had taken the right steps to control the risks associated with a construction project, the children might have survived, he says.
All of the children's infections were traced to aspergillus, a common mold found in soil, air, and construction dust. Most people are not affected by it, but it can be deadly to those with weakened immune systems. Yerrid provides this description of the children's experiences:
Mathew Gliddon, 5 years old, had been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia for three years. During one hospital stay in March 2008, his parents, Mathew and Karen Gliddon, complained to infection control nurses about odors and fumes seeping into the patient's room from smokers and vehicles outside the hospital. They also expressed concern about construction workers mingling with the children as they were transported to the main hospital for treatment. When Mathew died on April 16, 2008, an autopsy showed the cause of death as chemotherapy and a fungi infection.
Sierra Kesler, 9 years old, was born with Down syndrome and also had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. With her cancer in relapse, Sierra returned to the hospital in April 2008 for treatment and began experiencing significant respiratory distress. She died May 2008, and the autopsy listed the cause of death as fungal pneumonia with underlying leukemia.
Kaylie Gunn-Rimes, 2 years old, suffered from the same disease, acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In January 2008, she spent three weeks at St. Joseph's for an allergic drug reaction, but tests showed no signs of cancer at the time. By February, she had developed a lung infection and died in May 2008 of respiratory failure.