Chemical scare shuts down parts of hospital for hours - WKRN News 2

Chemical scare shuts down parts of hospital for hours

Posted: Updated: Jan 7, 2013 5:43 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

There were some anxious moments for hospital workers at Skyline Medical Center on Sunday evening.

Officials told Nashville's News 2 Investigates a 48-year-old patient came into contact with an unknown chemical while at a Shell station on Dickerson Road.

"There was a substance in a bottle and we were not sure what that substance was at the time," Assistant Chief of Metro Special Operations Unit Mike Franklin said.

Since emergency room staff and rescue crews did not immediately know what the chemical was, HAZMAT crews decontaminated more than a dozen members of the emergency room staff as a precaution, shutting down parts of the ER for hours.

Hospital officials say they are prepared for decontamination such an event arises.

"[Decontamination] entails scrubbing the person down with hot water and detergent, taking their clothes off of them, washing their clothes or throwing their clothes away," Franklin explained.

According to Franklin, authorities later discovered the man came in contact with and ingested Malathion, a pesticide commonly used to control mosquitoes.

"In a hospital emergency room, that is kind of a unique situation. Once we identified it, we realized that Malathion, at 57%, is a pretty toxic poison to be dealing with, but the amount splashed about was minimal," he continued.

Officials added the patient, whose identity was not released, was transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

A hospital spokesperson added the four hour decontamination did not interfere with operations and no other patients were affected.

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