Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Second family sues UPMC, cleaners

Negligence charged in mold infections

- By Sean D. Hamill

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Katherine Landman had already benefited from one bone marrow transplant from her younger brother, Paul, three years earlier when her acute myeloid leukemia came back in July 2015.

“She was doing real well until then,” her father, Lenny Boyce, said Thursday.

The 44-year-old New Castle mother of two college-age kids returned to UPMC Shadyside for a work-up and her doctors quickly decided that she needed another transplant. This time the bone marrow would come from her older brother, Louis, and preparatio­ns began for the procedure.

“But that never came about because she got this infection,” Mr. Boyce said.

The infection was a particular­ly deadly form of mold — rhizopus — that had gotten into her sinuses sometime after she was admitted to Shadyside, according to the wrongful death and negligence lawsuit her husband, Steve, filed Thursday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against UPMC and Paris Cleaners, the company that cleans UPMC’s linens.

In August 2015, she had two surgeries to attempt to remove the infection from her sinus cavity. But the surgeries could not stop its spread and she died Oct. 11, 2015.

Her case is the seventh involving patients who died after contractin­g mold infections at UPMC hospitals between October 2014 and October 2016.

“What this case does is it sort of nails down the breadth of the outbreak,” said Brendan Lupetin, one of the Landman family’s attorneys. “This shows that at first the cases are at Presbyteri­an [hospital], then it’s at Montefiore [hospital] and then it’s at Shadyside.”

The lawsuit — similar to one filed by the family of another patient, John Haines, in February — alleges that what links all seven cases at the three hospitals are the linens washed at the DuBois facility of Paris Cleaners.

Paris Cleaners CEO David Stern said in an emailed statement Thursday: “The Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvan­ia Department of Health have both said the facts don’t support the conclusion that these

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