MARGATE (CBSMiami) – An apparent suicide attempt using a toxic chemical closed the emergency room at Northwest Medical Center for hours Sunday morning, after the victim contaminated himself, paramedics, and eventually the emergency room with a pesticide.
Margate Fire Rescue paramedics were called to a Coconut Creek home about 1:30 Sunday morning, answering a call about a man who tried to kill himself by drinking the pesticide Malathion. They found the man in his front lawn.
While commonly used, Malathion is highly toxic and considered a hazardous material.
Fire officials said that while the man was in the ambulance on the way to Northwest, he vomited and exposed the paramedics to the chemical. They complained of nausea and dizziness when they arrived at the hospital, and as a precaution, the hospital held the victim in an outside area. The ER itself was closed.
By 9 a.m., the hospital issued a statement saying the emergency room had been cleared by the BSO Hazmat team and the Florida Department of Health, and had been re-opened.
“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.
The BSO Team also moved to decontaminate the ambulance used to bring the victim, a Spanish-speaking man in his 30s or 40s, to the hospital. Fire-Rescue officials said he was talking and responding to doctors.
BSO was assisted by a commercial clean-up company which worked to put the ambulance back in service.