Hazmat situation at Holy Cross Hospital puts 2 workers under observation

Taos, N.M.-based Holy Cross Hospital encountered a hazardous materials incident in its emergency department that caused the temporary evacuation of the ED and left two workers under observation.

The situation started Aug. 23 when a man presented at the ED after eating 1.5 lbs of prairie dog poison, according to The Taos News. The poison pellets contain aluminum phosphide, which, when exposed to stomach acid, will create a toxic gas and make excrement and vomit hazardous. The man eventually died.

Several hazmat teams were called to the hospital, as well as the National Guard, to handle the situation. The ED was evacuated after employees noticed a smell. A hazmat team cleaned the interior of the ED as well as the exterior, according to a Facebook post from the hospital.

While the hospital remained open during the situation and continued accepting patients who needed emergency care, a hospital employee mistakenly told Taos County EMS not to bring emergency patients to the hospital, according to The Taos News. The problem was later remedied.

The hospital is now open and the ED is back to normal, according to the report, but one nurse was admitted to Holy Cross for observation, and another healthcare worker was admitted to University of New Mexico Hospital.

"We have a very long list of things that went well," Bill Batten, CEO of Taos Health Systems, told The Taos News. "And another equally long list of things we can learn from."

Post-hazmat situation, the hospital is planning on hiring a part-time emergency services coordinator and training staff to call a higher code if a similar situation presents itself.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars