Vermont hospital extends OR closure into 2020 as sickening smell remains unsolved

University of Vermont Medical Center's Fanny Allen Campus in Colchester has extended the closure of its operating rooms through January as it investigates the cause of a mysterious smell, according to The Burlington Free Press.

All five operating rooms were shut down earlier this month as officials investigated an odor that caused staff to feel lightheaded and nauseous, according to VTDigger. The smell, initially reported Oct. 9 and again Nov. 27, originated in one operating room and spread to the other rooms, Steve Leffler, MD, interim president of the University of Vermont Medical Center, told VTDigger.  

Extensive internal testing, along with testing conducted by outside consultants and the state of Vermont, did not find the source of the odor. Air quality throughout the rest of the facility was found to be safe, and all other hospital services remain open, The Burlington Free Press reports.

Colchester, Vt.-based Green Mountain Surgery Center offered operating room time in December to help the hospital manage rescheduling and diverting surgeries, The Burlington Free Press reports. Dr. Leffler declined due to the complicated logistics required to transfer staff and physicians.

Amy Cooper, CEO of Green Mountain Surgery Center, told The Burlington Free Press Dec. 17 that Dr. Leffler called her and visited the surgery center Dec. 16 to discuss what type of surgical cases Fanny Allen might transfer over in January. 

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