Chemical assault of man prompts alert at hospital

July 26, 2008|By Sara Neufeld

A person who threw chemicals on a fast-food restaurant patron in Mondawmin Mall last night forced the closure of the Johns Hopkins Hospital emergency room for nearly two hours while officials investigated the possible hazardous substance.

The chemical turned out to be bleach or another cleaning agent.

The victim arrived in the emergency room about 5 p.m. with skin irritation from the unknown substance, hospital spokeswoman Amy Mone said. Two hospital nurses who encountered the patient then began to experience eye irritation.

Once it was determined that the chemical was a cleaner, normal operations resumed, Mone said. Walk-in traffic to the emergency room continued to be accepted throughout the incident, and the children's emergency room was unaffected. The two nurses were cleared to return to work.

Mone could not estimate how many ambulances were diverted to other hospitals.

Nicole Monroe, a city police spokeswoman, said officers are investigating the incident as an assault. She said the victim was treated at the hospital and released.

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