Mold found in a room where surgical equipment is sterilized has forced health officials to stop a Los Angeles hospital from performing any elective surgeries.
For about two weeks, the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center — one of the country’s largest public hospitals — won’t be able to perform medical procedures, including surgeries, according to an internal email obtained by The Los Angeles Times.
“The Central Sterile processing room, which disinfects all [operating room] and procedural supplies for clinical areas, is suffering from severe water damage and mold contamination and must be closed immediately,” read Chief Medical Officer Brad Spellberg’s Wednesday message to the medical center’s attending physicians and residents.
Elective surgeries were also canceled Wednesday.
The hospital “discovered low levels of mold in the air, and mold in the ceiling, in a processing area of the hospital, caused by a water leak,” read an unsigned statement sent to the outlet Thursday by the Department of Health Services’ Office of Communications.
The department noted there is “no evidence that mold has affected any surgical instruments…. No patients have been infected or harmed.”
According to the statement, the mold was discovered no earlier than Tuesday, though neither the type of mold nor who discovered it were made clear.
The Times notes that the hospital — which has 600 beds — is part of a system known as L.A. County Department of Health Services, which “serves as the safety net for millions of the county’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.”
According to Spellberg’s note, the hospital, which has only been in its current building since 2008, can continue disinfecting some surgical equipment for trauma cases, though every other procedure — save for dentistry — will be canceled if it sterilizes equipment somewhere else.