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Montreal hospital probing mold in baby's death   PDF  Print  E-mail 
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Wednesday, 09 February 2005 News Staff

A Montreal hospital has moved premature babies out of its neonatal wing as it scrambles to locate the source of an infection that killed an infant two weeks ago.

Although details remain sketchy, hospital officials have confirmed a report in Tuesday's Journal de Montreal, that a 29-week-old baby "died of an infectious disease ... a kind of fungus'' earlier this month.

In the wake of the Jan. 10 death, officials at Ste-Justine hospital have decided to relocate at least 10 remaining babies as a precaution against further infection.

Reporting from the hospital grounds, CTV reporter Tania Krywiak says officials are now holding meetings ahead of a public statement they're expected to deliver sometime later in the day.

In the meantime, Krywiak says officials are assuring reporters and the public that they are doing their best to pinpoint the precise cause of the baby's death.

Although the fourth-floor infant intensive care unit is in an area undergoing renovations, the hospital says it's too soon to link that construction work with the baby's death.

Krywiak says parents arriving with their children on Tuesday morning were concerned, but had not yet been given a good reason to stay away.

"What am I supposed to do, do we have a choice?" one frustrated mother asked rhetorically. "(My daughter) won't have care because, maybe, there's mould?"

If mould is identified as a factor in the baby's death, Ste-Justine will join the growing ranks of Quebec hospitals where mould has threatened patients' health.

At least five hospitals in Montreal alone have attributed patient deaths to the presence of toxic Aspergillus mould which, in a hospital setting, can severely compromise already-weakened immune systems.

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