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Baby with heart condition dies from mould exposure at hospital after open heart surgery



A baby with a serious heart condition has died after she received an infection from mould in a Seattle hospital’s operating room, her mother says. 

Elizabeth Hutt was born with a heart condition that she battled for the entirety of her six-month-long life. The young child underwent three open heart surgeries, and after the third one is when it’s believed she contracted an Aspergillus mould infection in the hospital’s operating room. 

Her mother, Katha Hutt, revealed in a Facebook post her daughter died early Wednesday morning at Seattle Children’s Hospital. 


“Elizabeth Vera Hutt gained her wings on her 175th day of life at 4:40 am. Late last night, Beth told us she was ready,” Mrs. Hutt wrote. 

“I cannot begin to express the gratitude we have for the team that worked through the night to make sure Beth’s transition was as painless and smooth as possible. We will post when we’ve had the chance to make plans for celebrating our brave, courageous, beautiful warrior.”

The mould in the hospital’s operating rooms was first detected in November, around the same time as the child’s third surgery. 

Ms Hutt created a Facebook page titled Beth’s HLHS Journey to keep people updated on her daughter’s condition throughout her surgeries. She revealed in January her daughter was battling an infection that stumped her doctors. 

It was later determined the infection was contracted from the mould discovered in three of the 14 operating rooms at the hospital in November. The mould came from the hospital’s air-handling units in the operating rooms, and 14 patients have developed infections from the mould since 2001, the hospital revealed. Seven of those 14 children have since died from their infections. 

“I’m always going to wonder if there were different interventions that could’ve taken place, had the Aspergillus not been there,” Ms Hutt said.

Aspergillus is a common mould typically present in the air that people breathe. It normally does not cause one to get sick, but it can be harmful to people who lack strong immune systems or those who are surgical patients. 

Ms Hutt and her husband, Micah Hutt, told WBTV they knew about the hospital’s Aspergillus problems in 2018, but they still picked the location for their daughter due to the quality of doctors and medical staff at the facility. 

At the time, the parents thought the mould problem was solved. 

They joined a class action suit against Seattle Children’s Hospital in January, which alleges facility managers knew about the mould since 2005 and failed to fix the problem. 

The hospital currently has 11 of its 14 operating rooms shut down, as new HEPA filtration units are installed. The other three operating rooms received the new air units and are open for use. 

Seattle Children’s Hospital said in response to the baby’s death: “Losing a child is incredibly devastating for everyone whose lives were touched by that child. Our deepest condolences go out to families and loved ones who have experienced a loss.”



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Share your story of hospital overcrowding?


The emergency department crisis continues to worsen with the latest trolleycount showing 760 patients waiting for hospital beds, the highest on record.

Nurses have called for non-emergency admissions to be stopped and elective medical procedures cancelled.

The new record for patients on trolleys comes after a severe winter flu season which placed the health services under strain.



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Home for the holidays: Prince Philip leaves hospital


Prince Philip has been discharged from a London hospital and joined his wife Queen Elizabeth II for Christmas at her rural retreat

LONDON —
Prince Philip was discharged from a London hospital Tuesday and immediately taken by helicopter to join other senior royals at Queen Elizabeth II’s rural retreat in time for a traditional family Christmas.

His arrival is a bit of welcome good news for the queen at the end of a year that she admits has been “bumpy.” Her comments are thought to relate not just to Britain’s difficult path toward Brexit but also setbacks experienced by the royal family in 2019.

Buckingham Palace did not reveal details about Philips medical treatment and said that he wished to thank everyone who had sent good wishes during his four-night stay at the private King Edward VII hospital in London.

The palace had previously said that the 98-year-old prince was being hospitalized for planned treatment of a pre-existing condition. The fact that he did not go to the hospital by ambulance and that the queen did not change her plans to be by his side suggested it was not an emergency situation.

Philip, a man of great pride, walked out of the hospital on his own Tuesday morning even though many patients of that age use wheelchairs when they are discharged. The prince left the hospital on foot and entered a vehicle unaided. He was dressed elegantly with his tie in a Windsor knot and waved to a nurse as he departed the hospital.

The palace said he had been hospitalized as a “precautionary measure.” Officials did not explain the nature of his treatment, which appeared to have been timed to allow him to receive the care he needed and return to the family in time for Christmas.

He has suffered from heart disease and other ailments including a bladder infection in recent years and has largely stepped out of the public eye since he announced his retirement from royal duties in 2017.

The Palace said at the time the decision was not health-related and was simply a reflection of his advanced years. “I’ve done my bit,” Philip told friends when he stepped down after decades of royal events, often carried out silently one step behind the queen.

On Monday, Prince Charles said his father was faring well but was suffering from age-related problems.

“When you get to that age, things don’t work so well,” he said.

Philip arrived at Sandringham in time for Christmas Eve, when the royals usually exchange small gifts.

It is not known if Philip will be strong enough to attend a Christmas morning church service traditionally attended by the queen and other senior royals. He did not attend last year.

The small church service near the queen’s palatial home usually draws well-wishers hoping to get a glimpse of Elizabeth and her family and perhaps to exchange Christmas wishes with the royals.

Church is usually followed by a family lunch at Sandringham and then the broadcast of the queen’s message to Britain and the Commonwealth countries. Excerpts released ahead of time reveal the queen plans to admit it has been a challenging year. It was recorded before Philip was hospitalized.

Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

She is thought to be referring both to Britain’s laborious exit from the European Union, which is now almost certainly going to happen on Jan. 31 after voters gave the pro-Brexit Conservative Party a comfortable majority in Parliament, and to the royal family’s difficulties.

The problems facing the queen’s family this year included Prince Andrew’s retreat from public duties following a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and failed to show empathy for Epstein’s young female victims.

The family has also endured what many close observers think is a rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, who has traveled with his wife Meghan and young son Archie to Canada rather than spend the Christmas holidays at Sandringham, as has long been customary for senior royals.

Both Harry and Meghan have complained about constant scrutiny by the media as they settle into family life with 7-month-old Archie.



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6 dead after man opens fire in Czech hospital waiting room


PRAGUE (AP) — Six people were killed in a shooting in a hospital in the eastern Czech Republic Tuesday, the prime minister said. Police said the suspect is at large and described him as armed and dangerous.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Czech public television the shooting took place around 7 a.m. in a waiting room. The attacker opened fire at people’s heads from close range, Babis said.

He said he was heading for the site, at the University hospital in the eastern city of Ostrava, 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of Prague.

Police said the man left in a silver-grey Renault Laguna car and called on the public not to try to stop him.

Police published a photo of the suspect, having withdrawn an earlier photo of a different man. They said that man was now considered to be a witness.

Video footage and pictures published by public radio showed police arresting a person at the site but that person did not appear to be the shooting suspect.

Officials say people have been evacuated from the clinic. Police are boosting security across the country.



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