Chemical spill at Illinois medical center prompts hospitalization of 15 employees, patients

Fifteen employees and patients were sent to the hospital March 27 following a chemical spill at Berwyn, Ill.-based JenCare Senior Medical Center, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Firefighters were called to the medical center around 3 p.m. after phenol, a chemical substance used in some medical treatments, spilled in an exam room. At the time of the spill, 35 people were in the facility. Following the spill, some of the people in the facility experienced shortness of breath, coughing and nausea — prompting the transfer of 15 symptomatic people to nearby hospitals.

The medical center was evacuated and closed. It will not reopen until hazmat personnel clean the spill and the city's building department determines it is safe.

"This afternoon at a JenCare Senior Medical Center in Berwyn a small bottle containing a substance used in podiatric care known to have some toxicity broke," a hospital statement reads, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Caring for our patients and our staff is our number one priority, which is why we took the precautions of evacuating the facility, calling local authorities, and ensuring all who were present received appropriate medical examination."

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