All Patients Discharged From Hospitals After Mercury Exposure Scare

All Patients Discharged From Hospitals After Mercury Exposure Scare
By Devin Sanchez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - It was a busy Tuesday for staff at Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical center, as more than 60 students and staff of Hood Junior High were treated for mercury exposure.

ECISD said those who were treated were quarantined and showered off at school, before they were taken to the hospitals. 26 students and 4 adults were taken to MCH, while 26 students and 7 adults went to ORMC. As the patients exited the buses, they wore hazmat suits.

"They can't put them in their old clothes, so they put them in hazmat suits so we would know they were safe to bring in the emergency department," Dr. Gregory Shipkey, at MCH said.

Dr. Shipkey explained that so many patients were treated because of what is considered exposure.

"About 60 people exposed, now exposed could be as minor as walking by the table it was on. Most of these are very minor exposures," he said.

Some symptoms of mercury exposure:
-skin rash
-metallic taste in mouth
-swollen and bloody gums

Tassa Watts, with ORMC, said in a statement, all patients were discharged as of 6 PM Tuesday. She also said no one was admitted to the hospital, they were all treated in the ER.

MCH officials also announced late Tuesday, that all their patients were treated and released.

In a release, ECISD stated none of the patients showed any signs or symptoms of illness.

Medical officials said sometimes symptoms of mercury exposure will show up later, so anyone who experiences any symptoms is urged to go to the ER.