PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A transplant patient who contracted a fungal infection during a recent stay at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has died, making him the fifth patient with such an infection to die at the health system’s facilities since 2014.
Dan Krieg, 56, died Saturday at UPMC Montefiore amid an ongoing federal investigation into mould cases at UPMC hospitals, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/29BdRJb) reported.
Krieg, of St. Marys, had a successful kidney transplant in July 2015, but returned to the hospital in March, his lawyer said.
A UPMC spokeswoman said the hospital is saddened by Krieg’s death, but said it was not directly related to the fungal infection. Spokeswoman Allison Hydzik said his death was caused by pneumonia.
However, Krieg’s attorneys contend the mould led to his death.
Krieg’s nephew said autopsy results are pending.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the four previous organ transplant patients who developed mould infections at UPMC likely got it from time spent in a “negative pressure” room normally reserved for those who already had infections.
Those specially ventilated rooms are designed for patients with infectious diseases so any air they might infect doesn’t get into corridors or rooms with other patients.
UPMC suspended its transplant program for six days in September after finding mould at two hospitals, resuming it after a review of procedures and treatments.
UPMC previously acknowledged the room where Krieg stayed had “negative-pressure” capabilities but said the system was not in use when he was housed there.
Krieg’s lawyer, Brendan Lupetin, said Krieg’s condition worsened while he was hospitalized, and he contracted pneumonia and a form of mould in his lungs.
His nephew told the newspaper the mould infection required surgery to have a left lobe of his lungs removed.
UPMC agreed in May to pay $1.35 million in a settlement to the family of a woman who died during the earlier mould outbreak.
Tracy Fischer, 47, died in October 2014 after contracting a fungal infection at UPMC Presbyterian.
Fischer was treated in the same room of the hospital’s cardiothoracic intensive care unit where two other heart transplant patients with fungal infections were treated before dying. Che DuVall, 70, died in February, and an unnamed patient died in June 2015. A fourth patient died in September at UPMC Montefiore.
Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com