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 have 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, 10 of our operating rooms will remain closed for several more weeks. We know this closure will result in the postponement of many surgeries, and we are sorry for the impact this will have on our patients and families. We will continue to perform surgeries in our remaining operating rooms.

Our work so far

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

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 to allow for commissioning of the new air handling system. We anticipate this closure to last approximately two weeks, but as this work is dynamic we know that all dates and timelines are subject to change. During this time, we will perform emergent surgeries in alternate sites in the hospital; we will also perform some surgeries at our Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center as well as partner hospitals. We will not start scheduling non-urgent surgeries until we have a full go-live date so that we can do everything we can to honor the schedule dates we give to our patients and their families.

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.