Suit: Hospital had to shut down after contaminated patients entered ER

Kelly Holleran Dec. 16, 2008, 9:55am

Saint Anthony's

Saint Anthony's Medical Center has filed suit against G.S. Robins, alleging it was forced to shut down for 24 hours after three G.S. Robins employees entered the hospital without first being decontaminated.

Three workers at Ro-Corp, which is owned by G.S. Robins, were exposed to p-nitroanaline on Aug. 30 while working, according to the complaint filed Dec. 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

They arrived at the hospital by private vehicle and entered the emergency room without warning or advance notice of the need for decontamination, the suit states.

They "were very ill and unable to provide immediate information regarding the identity and circumstances of their exposure and illness," the suit states.

Because of their unexpected arrival, the workers could have immediately contaminated the patients and staff at the hospital, as well as anyone else in the hospital through the ventilation system, Saint Anthony's claims.

Due to the risk, the entire medical center was forced to close until the risk of ventilation contamination ceased, according to the complaint.

"All told, the Emergency Department was closed approximately twenty-four hours, resulting in significant business interruption and monetary loss," the suit states.

Saint Anthony's has incurred administrative and clean-up expenses and will become liable for additional amounts in the future, it claims.

G.S. Robins was negligent by permitting exposed workers to leave its premises, by failing to implement procedures for addressing exposure to hazardous materials and by failing to instruct employees in procedures for addressing exposure to hazardous materials, Saint Anthony's claims.

St. Anthony's is seeking more than $75,000, plus costs.

Thomas Q. Keefe, III, of Belleville, will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-629.

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