Leak of Sterilant Gas at Lakewood Hospital Fixed


kimball-medical-center-lakewood-njA leak of a gas used to sterilize equipment was fixed at Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, NJ, Friday night. The Berkeley hazardous materials team was called to the hospital after the leak of ethylene oxide was reported about 8:20 p.m., said Lakewood police Sgt. Maureen Truex. The leak was subsequently contained and no patients needed to be evacuated from the hospital, police said.

First Assistant Chief Rodney Youmans of the Lakewood Fire Department said the leak was not in the immediate vicinity of the emergency room, the crisis center or other areas patients would be Friday night.

However, Youmans said that staff in the pharmacy and operating room near the leak were evacuated from those areas.
The haz-mat team took measurements and readings in the hospital to determine the presence of the substance, but the readings were negative, Youmans said.

Ethylene oxide is used to sterilize medical equipment and supplies, according to information on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.

It is both flammable and highly reactive, and acute exposures to the gas may result in respiratory irritation and lung injury, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and cyanosis – discoloration of the skin because of a lack of oxygen in the blood.

{APP/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}