Apparent suicide attempt closes emergency room

Thursday, February 13, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A hospital emergency room was closed for more than three hours Wednesday due to fumes coming from a man who ingested insecticide in an apparent suicide attempt.

The Overland Park, Kan., man, whose name has not been released, was transported to St. Joseph Health Center in Kansas City, Mo., around 8:30 a.m. after his wife discovered something was wrong, said Capt. John Jackson, of the Overland Park police department.

Medical workers wearing hazardous material suits decontaminated the man before entering the hospital but the fumes coming from his breath and bodily fluids were so strong that the facility decided to stop taking new emergency patients, said Nicki Carlton, director of emergency services for St. Joseph Health Center.

Patients already in the area were transferred to a different part of the emergency department while the man was treated. Large fans were used to remove the fumes, Carlton said.

The man was listed in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

He had ingested malathion, an insecticide that is used to control mosquitoes and a variety of insects that attack fruits, vegetables, landscaping plants and shrubs. It can also be found in other pesticide products used indoors and on pets to control ticks and insects.

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