Information About Planned Changes to Our Operating Rooms

We are deeply sorry for the impact the air quality issues in some of our operating rooms have had on our patients and families. This page contains the latest information on our current work and next steps as we continue to work diligently to provide safe, quality care for our patients and families.

Background

On November 10, routine air test results revealed the presence of Aspergillus in three of our operating rooms and two procedural areas. Aspergillus is a common mold often present in the air we breathe. However, in some instances, it can cause potentially severe complications, including death.

After careful consideration and in consultation with outside experts, we decided to proceed with the immediate installation of custom in-room HEPA filtration in 10 ORs and two equipment storage rooms, and to continue with the planned installation of the new air handling system. HEPA is an extremely effective filtration system that removes more than 99% of particles from the air passing through the filter. Installing in-room HEPA filtration requires custom-building a system for each OR and we know it’s the right thing to do for our patients and families.

We had previously planned to build in-room filtration systems room-by-room in order to minimize disruption to our patients. We had already completed this work in three rooms, and the room-by-room installation was previously scheduled to be completed by July 2020.

To allow for the accelerated installation of the new filtration systems, in December we closed 10 of our operating rooms for multiple weeks. We know this closure resulted in the postponement of many surgeries, and we are sorry for the impact to our patients and families.

Our work so far

On December 10, we temporarily closed all of our main operating rooms so that workers could move the new rooftop air handling unit into place. The new air handling unit was ordered in the summer of 2019.

On December 30, we completed a step in the installation process and reopened the three operating rooms that already have in-room HEPA filtration. Over the next several weeks, work continued on installation of the new air-handling unit, as well as installation of in-room HEPA filtration systems in the remaining operating rooms.

On January 18, 2020, we temporarily closed all of our main operating rooms for commissioning of the new air handling system.

On February 5, after completing the latest phase in the commissioning of the new air handling system, we reopened three of the operating rooms that already have HEPA filtration and one procedure room.

On February 25, after completing the work of installing a new rooftop air handling system and in-room HEPA filtration systems, we reopened the 10 operating rooms that we had closed in December for this work. We are taking a thoughtful and systematic approach to rescheduling surgeries. We know that it will take some time to reschedule surgeries for many of our patients and families, and we are deeply grateful for your understanding during this time.

We remain committed to doing what’s right to keep our patients safe. Our mission to bring hope, care and cure to every child who needs it drives everything we do. Our patients and their families depend on our expert, compassionate care.

Patients and families who have questions or concerns not related to scheduling may call our Patient and Family Relations Department at 206-987-2550. If you need an interpreter, please call 866-583-1527 and ask to be connected to this number: 7-2550.