Emergency department hazardous materials protocol for contaminated patients

J L Burgess, M Kirk, S W Borron, J Cisek
Annals of Emergency Medicine 1999, 34 (2): 205-12
Emergency department handling and treatment of chemically contaminated patients can have potentially serious consequences. Medical staff can be exposed to hazardous chemicals through dermal contact or inhalation of volatile compounds or particulate matter. Exposure can result in symptomatic illness from either a direct chemical toxic effect or an odor-mediated psychologic response. Either situation can severely affect ED function and lead to facility evacuation. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations for participation in community hazardous materials incident emergency response plans require hospital EDs to prepare for hazardous materials incidents. This study provides a template protocol for ED preparation for and treatment of patients exposed to hazardous materials.

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