Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog

The Same Types of Mold That Shut Down the UMPC Transplant Program Could be in Your Home

September 22nd, 2015 1:33 PM by Dan Howard

            The suspension of one of the nation's renowned e organ transplant program is very big news, but really..... another important story here is that mold exposure can happen in the homes, automobiles, workplaces and many other areas frequented by these and other immunosuppressed patients.  Patient's home environments need checked for mold before a transplant patient is sent home.

            As one of the nation's leading transplant programs, the PA and Federal Departments of Health and the CDC are involved in exploring and solving the UPMC transplant patient mold problem. This is an important issue because the very lives of many patients awaiting organ transplants are now hanging in the wind while the mold deaths are being examined. 

            The  transplant centers like UPMC have trained professionals to monitor mold conditions and recognize the health problems mold creates when they arise. If they can miss the problem, what is a homeowner to do without that level of expertise?

            The longer an immunosuppressed person is in any place with mold, the higher the chance for a serious mold related health problem to occur. Most transplant patients spend far more time in their homes than in a hospital. The risk of serious problems arising increases with the longer the time of exposure no matter where that exposure exits.     

               Make no bones about it. Transplant surgery is a true miracle of modern medicine for the recipients and their loved ones. It was as recent as in 1967 that the very first successful heart, kidney, and combination liver and pancreas transplants were performed. But that miracle  can fade away because of the either the hospital or the home environment.

            The background here is that organ transplant recipients are placed on immunosuppressant drugs. This simply means that their immune system needs to be “turned on to low” to avoid the body rejecting the organs. The good news is that with anti-rejection therapy, transplant patients can now live for decades as compared to the original outcome of many living only days after the transplant.

The Mold Health Risk Affects More Than Organ Transplant Patients

            According to  the Minnesota Department of Health, many other people in addition to organ transplant recipients can be affected by mold growth. These include:

  • Infants and children
  • Asthmatics
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such as allergies or asthma
  • Persons having severely weakened immune systems (for example, people with HIV infection, chemotherapy patients,)
  • Persons with neurological or immunosuppression diseases such as Lupus or MS

            The news stories indicate that the UPMC mold problem, has existed for quite some time, exposing many patients to the deadly risks. The right person to observe and test for the problem  was not involved. It needs to be a program in place. 


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