21 Nov 2009

Chemical spill delays hospital lab tests and surgery

11:14 am on 21 November 2009

A chemical spill at Wellington Hospital has disrupted lab tests and postponed surgery for about 10 patients.

The spill happened at about 11am on Friday in the Clinical Services Block when workmen accidentally cut through a pipe containing formalin, derived from the poisonous gas formaldehyde.

Fourteen workmen were treated in the Emergency Department.

The Fire Service says staff in chemical suits and breathing apparatus contained the spill and a chemical disposal subcontractor is on site.

The staff-only building, which contains the hospital's main laboratories, was evacuated and was not expected to be reopened until Saturday.