The emergency room at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka was shut down Monday night after a spill involving a substance believed to be mercury.
Communications Manager Niki Malone says the spill happened around 10:30 p.m.
Malone credits staff members for responding the incident “quickly” and according to the hospital’s spill response procedure.
“The spill was identified quickly and staff notified facilities, laboratory and security,” Malone said, describing the hazmat protocols. “The level of hazardousness was determined and the Fire Department and local authorities were called in. A spill response coordinator was assigned and they directed the spill team in cleaning the spill in a safe manner and proper disposal.”
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, state Fire Marshal’s Office and Topeka Police Department were also called in to assist.
Malone says there were about 20 patients in the ER at the time of the spill. Some were treated and discharged, while others were admitted for their original conditions.
One employee was in the area of the incident and approximately 40 additional staff members were in the emergency department at the time. They were isolated and evaluated for exposure.
Malone says that no hospital employees were admitted.
The ER was shut down and incoming patients were diverted to other local and regional emergency departments. Other areas of the hospital were not affected.