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Mold Found In San Diego Hospital

Mold Led To Several Deaths In Past, Official Says

May 7, 2006

SAN DIEGO -- Mold was found in the ventilation system of Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, prompting the hospital to discharge two directors, a hospital official said Saturday.

The mold, called aspergillus, was found in the system in March, according to Scripps spokesman Don Stanziano.

The hospital contacted the state department of health services about the matter.

Two directors who were in charge of maintenance and cleaning on the ventilation system were asked to resign, Stanziano said.

"It's safe to say that our maintenance schedule was not being followed," Stanziano said.

The mold is commonly found in the environment and is not harmful to healthy people. However, it could sicken those with compromised immune systems, Stanziano said.

Five years ago, there was an outbreak of the same fungus at the hospital, which led to the death of a patient, Stanziano said.

No patients were sickened this time by the elevated levels of mold, Stanziano said, adding that the situation was caught early because of the hospital's "multi-layer system for monitoring."


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