Malfunctioning Computer Cause of Odor In Memorial Hospital ED

This morning (11/22/11), at 4:33 a.m., staff from the Memorial Hospital at Easton’s Emergency Department called Talbot County Emergency Management to report an irritating odor that they had detected.

Thanks to the staff’s quick and professional response, the 12 patients who were in the Emergency Department were moved to an area not affected by the odor and the Emergency Department’s contained heating and air handling system was shut down. Responders from local and regional EMS, fire and police departments arrived at the hospital to assist and ensure the safety of everyone inside and outside of the building. The rest of the hospital remained safely in operation. Incoming ambulances were routed to Dorchester General Hospital and Queen Anne’s Emergency Center as needed during the event.

A specialized hazardous materials team from Anne Arundel County entered the emergency department to determine the cause of the odor. They found that one of the mobile computers in the emergency department had a malfunctioning battery, which was emitting the odor. By 7:15 am, members of the hazardous materials team and the Easton fire department chief confirmed that the hospital was safe. Shortly thereafter, patients were moved back into the emergency department and all other services resumed.

Ken Kozel, President and CEO, comments, “Thanks to the quick and professional response of our staff, we were able to keep everyone safe while the cause of the odor was found. The coordinated efforts of our staff and our community emergency response partners made it possible for us to get the hospital back to full services quickly.”