Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The emergency room of Northwest Medical Center was shut down and three firefighters were treated for contamination sickness Sunday after tending to a man who drank the pesticide malathion.
Created: April 1, 2012
April 01--MARGATE -- The emergency room of Northwest Medical Center was shut down and three firefighters were treated for contamination sickness Sunday after tending to a man who drank the pesticide malathion in an apparent attempt to kill himself.
Margate Fire Rescue division chief Dan Booker said paramedics were called to a Coconut Creek home in the 5900 block of 40th Lane just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday and found a man in his front lawn.
Paramedics were told the man tried to commit sucide by ingesting the toxic chemical commonly used as a bug killer.
As they treated the man on route to the hospital, he vomited, said Booker, which caused the paramedics "to become dizzy, nauseous and getting headaches."
At the hospital the man was held in a containment area outside of the emergency room, which was temporarily closed as a precaution, said Booker.
Later Sunday morning, Margate Fire Rescue officials had also quarantined the emergency vehicle in which the man was transported, and called in the Broward Sheriff"s Office hazardous materials team, said Booker.
At 9 a.m. Sunday hospital officials issued a statement saying the emergency department has been cleared by both BSO and state Department of Health officials.
"We continue to evaluate the situation and our first and foremost priority as always remains the safety of our patients, staff and community partners," the hospital said in the statement.
Through the morning workers with a commercial clean-up firm, dressed in yellow protective suits, continued to scrub down the truck as well as hospital equipment, including gurneys and privacy screens, being brought out of the emergency room.
The patient, described as a Spanish-speaking man in his 30s or 40s, was conscious and talking, said Booker.
"It's a mess," said Booker. "This guy took up a lot of assets. But he is not out of the woods yet."
A commercial firm was called in to decontaminate the rescue vehicle, some hospital equipment and dispose of the man's clothing, said Booker.
The emergency department has been cleared by Broward Hazmat, EPA and the Department of Health.
Commonly used to control pests on farms and around homes, malathion is an insecticide first registered for use in the U.S. in 1956, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. It kills insects by preventing their nervous system from working properly.
Booker said, "It's an unusual method of suicide for sure."
Staff writer Joe Cavaretta contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2012 - Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.