• DOH team cleans up Fabella Hospital chemical spill

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    A chemical team of the Department of Health prepares to enter the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila on Saturday to contain a mercury spill in the hospital’s storage room. PHOTO BY Rene H. Dilan

    A chemical team of the Department of Health prepares to enter the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila on Saturday to contain a mercury spill in the hospital’s storage room. PHOTO BY
    Rene H. Dilan

    THE Department of Health on Saturday sent a chemical spill clean up team at the Fabella Memorial hospital after high levels of mercury was detected in the hospital’s storage room.

    The Health department said that the spill stemmed from a container of amalgam—an   alloy composed mainly of silver and mercury and used mostly in oral health care—that broke in the hospital’s storeroom on Thursday.

    It was learned that the storeroom abuts a ward for children.

    Health Secretary Enrique Ona said that the DOH response team and the Hazardous Material Unit of the Bureau of Fire Protection are now working in the hospital to determine the extent of the spill and to initiate remediation procedures.

    He also ordered the DOH team to conduct tests on people that may have been exposed with the mercury to detect possible effects of the poisonous chemical on their health.

    Ona also said that he already ordered the hospitals officials and staff to ensure the safety of the patients.

    In a statement, Fabella said that they already transferred 40 patients from the hospital’s pediatric ward to another ward after detecting the spill.

    Meanwhile, because of the incident, Ona ordered a review of proper and safe storage and disposal of harmful chemicals, particularly mercury, in all hospitals in the country.

    In 2008, DOH ordered all hospitals and health facilities in the country to stop using mercury-containing medical devices because of its possible threat and effect on human health.

    Fatima Cielo B. Cancel

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