What to Know
- 53 staffers at an NYC hospital reported falling sick from an odor on the maternity floor that turned out to be elevated mold levels
- Staten Island University Hospital says no patients reported symptoms; nearly 30 independent environmental tests were conducted
- The most recent air monitoring results came back all clear and the hospital is working on rebuilding the nursery, officials said
More than 50 nurses and staffers on a New York City hospital's maternity floor have reported getting sick from an odor that tests confirmed to be related to mold, authorities say.
Staten Island University Hospital said in a statement Monday the odor was first reported on its maternity floor at the north site in the fall. Newborns were moved to a backup nursery while environmental tests were conducted -- and those found mold at moderately elevated levels, "similar to those detected outdoors." Water-borne mold was also found behind a sink wall.
A total of 53 employees reported symptoms -- ones ranging from dizziness to headaches and sore throats -- they attributed to the mold conditions, according to the hospital and a Daily News report.
No patients have reported complaints.
One woman, a 65-year-old nurse named Robyn Jacobs, told the Daily News she would get sick every time she went into the nursery. In addition to headaches and scratchy throat, she said she suffered chest tightness -- almost like an allergic reaction. She says she saw up to eight staffers get sick on one day.
The hospital says its most recent air monitoring results came back all clear and they have begun to rebuild the nursery where the odor was first detected. It says it had nearly 30 independent environmental tests done and those results indicated no risk to patients.
"Through the course of the project, hospital administration has been directly communicating with staff multiple times a week, met with union representatives numerous times and notified the appropriate regulatory agencies to proactively address this matter," the statement from Staten Island University Hospital Executive Director Dr. Brahim Ardolic said. "Our main focus has been to properly mitigate the nursery area to continue providing care in the safest environment possible for our patients and staff."
Jacobs still expressed concern.
"They keep telling us it’s safe, it’s safe, it’s safe," she told the News. "How safe is it? Because we’re all getting sick."