Chemical leak at New Hampshire hospital nearly causes 20 patients and staff to lose consciousness … this is a place of HEALING?
08/22/2017 // Rhonda Johansson // Views

After almost a week of grueling investigation and thorough examination, Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire reopened its operating and emergency department after 19 staff members fell ill on August 11. Spokespeople of the hospital say that despite there being initial fears of a carbon monoxide leak, there has been no evidence of any such contamination. The cause for the sudden wave of illness among staff members is still being determined. Unconfirmed sources claim that the hospital experienced an unintentional anesthesia gas leak.

Emergency crews were forced to evacuate patients from the operating rooms in Exeter Hospital on August 11 after 19 employees began experiencing bouts of nausea and started to vomit. Aerial footage from local media outlets showed patients on hospital beds being taken out of the building, with the doctors still treating them. The hospital released a statement that the wave of dizziness experienced by staff was from “an unknown cause” and that they had closed their operating rooms “out of an abundance of caution.”

Initial reports said that Exeter had an uncontained carbon monoxide leak. This would explain the flu-like symptoms felt by the employees.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. It is usually the result of combustion and is the by-product of heaters, car mufflers, space heaters, portable generators, and the like. While everyone is exposed to the gas all throughout the day, inhaling too much of it in a confined space can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include weakness, dizziness, confusion, and vomiting. This type of poisoning is extremely dangerous, as death can occur rapidly. This is why many health groups warn parents and children to take special care when sitting or sleeping inside a vehicle that is idle.


Hospitals or facilities with faulty or old architecture are more susceptible to carbon monoxide leaks. (Related: Hospitals - why it is more important than ever to steer clear of them.)

When the employees at Exeter began experiencing symptoms similar to carbon monoxide poisoning, they were immediately told to vacate the premises. Patients inside the operating room were transported to other area hospitals.

The fire department, along with hospital staff, conducted an internal investigation. This lasted for six days, wherein the entire hospital was cleaned by an outside agency. Exeter supposedly had the facility cleaned a second time for extra measure. Despite their best efforts, however, spokespeople from the hospital have said that they are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the illness. Investigators stated that the air tests for carbon monoxide came back negative.

There is speculation that a staff member may have accidentally triggered an anesthesia gas leak. The communication department of Exeter says that they are exploring this possibility but think it highly unlikely.

For all the assurances Exeter staff have given to the public, many people still remain cautious of the facility’s safety. Only last year, the hospital was implicated in an alarming hepatitis C outbreak when former cardiovascular technician David Kwiatkowski used dirty syringes on unsuspecting patients. Around 33 patients became infected with hepatitis C.

Kwiatkowski was found guilty and is serving 39 years for criminal negligence. Lawyers of the hospital agreed to pay the affected patients, along with 188 others, who tested negative for the disease but have threatened legal action for the emotional distress the incident caused.

Kwiatkowski admitted that he stole the syringes to inject himself with painkillers such as fentanyl. He then filled the used syringes with saline and returned them for it to be used on patients.

Determining which hospital to choose can be a daunting one, especially considering the trend for misinformation and propaganda happening right now. Nevertheless, the smart patient is careful enough to do the necessary research to see if their chosen health facility can be trusted or not.

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