First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Toxic Patient Quarantines Ambulance and Shuts Down Emergency Room

Three Paramedics Sickened

A SOUTH FLORIDA HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM was closed for several hours Sunday and a Margate FD ambulance had to be quarantined after a patient who had swallowed a pesticide vomited inside the ambulance.

The apparent-suicide victim was found laying in the grass around 1:30 am Sunday morning and the ambulance crew of three began transporting him to the Northwest Medical Center in Margate.  They had no patient information or history at that point.  While en route to the hospital, the unidentified man vomited, spraying the medics and the ambulance with the contents.  By the time they arrived at the hospital, the three medics were complaining of dizziness, nausea and headaches.  The patient was stinking so badly that the hospital had to shut down the ER and relocate the man to an isolated area elsewhere in the hospital.

The patient was quarantined and moved to an isolation unit.

A special call brought the Sheriff's Dept. Haz-Mat team in to evaluate the hazard, then a commercial toxic-cleanup firm arrived and spent several hours decontaminating the emergency room and the equipment plus interior of the ambulance.  Both the ER and the ambulance were cleared to resume operations by 11 am.

The entire ER had to be scrubbed down and decontaminated.
(Sun Sentinel photo)

The patient remained conscious the entire time and was able to inform them that he had ingested Malathion, a pesticide that kills by attacking the nervous system.  The three medics were treated for exposure and released back to duty.

The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel has the DETAILS.
Margate Fire Rescue Department WEBSITE.

Firegeezer notes:  The rapid and efficient resolution of this incident puts that hospital and its staff in a very good light.  The seemingly flawless operation of isolation and decontamination display a well organized plan that has been practiced and taken seriously by the staff and their training department.  Good job.

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