AMSTERDAM - A female who came into the St. Mary's Hospital emergency room Monday with an odorous substance, forcing the ER's temporary closure, had ingested a pesticide, officials said.
The emergency room reopened Tuesday after it was evacuated Monday afternoon. After cleaning the emergency room, the hospital reopened the area around 9:30 a.m., public relations coordinator Rick Hyde said.
The female, whose name was not released by the hospital or authorities, was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital for further treatment. No update on her condition was available this morning.
The patient was taken by emergency crews to St. Mary's Hospital after the city Police Department, city Fire Department and the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to a 911 call on McCleary Avenue on Monday, city police said.
When they arrived, police said, medical personnel determined the victim had ingested an unknown substance and needed immediate medical attention. The victim was transported to St. Mary's around 2 p.m.
Jerri Cortese, a spokeswoman for St. Mary's Healthcare, said the patient was vomiting and was brought in with a container of the then-unknown liquid, which had a "horrible odor that was so bad, staff were concerned."
Hospital staff requested the Montgomery County Hazardous Materials
team come to the hospital. The HazMat team determined the substance to be Malathion, an agricultural pesticide.
The patients in the emergency room were moved to another part of the hospital because the substance wasn't immediately identified, Cortese said.
"We had to identify the substance," Cortese said. "It was important to do that so we could treat the patient and take whatever steps necessary for the staff that was treating the patient."
Cortese said the patient was immediately admitted to an emergency treatment room and never was in contact with other patients in the waiting room.
Cortese said the pesticide presented no immediate danger to those who were treating the patient because it's not an airborne pathogen and wasn't ingested by any staff.
"The risk was very minimal," Cortese said.
Montgomery County Emergency Management Interim Director Rick Sager said no other patients were treated for exposure as a result of the incident.
While the emergency room was closed, some emergency room patients were deferred to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville and Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, Sager said.
Sager said the substance was only a hazard to others if it came in direct contact with the skin or was ingested.
Police said they are conducting no criminal investigation and no charges are pending.
Cortese said because of patient confidentiality, the hospital could release few details, including the patient's name and place of residence.