FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Karina Rusk 831-759-1843

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Responds to Code Triage

Activates Command Center & Deploys Decontamination Process

SALINAS, CA, JUNE 23, 2017- On Thursday at approximately 6:50am our emergency department received 18 patients suffering from possible insecticide exposure. The patients were farm workers who arrived to work at a field and complained of physical symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and stomach pain.

A supervisor from the agriculture company which employed the workers informed emergency personnel the possible chemical involved was Methomyl, known by it’s trade name Lannate. The Emergency Department immediately called a code triage, activated a command center and deployed a mobile decontamination trailer (decon trailer). Because of the relatively small number of patients, it was faster and more efficient to have them go through a regular shower decon process before being triaged in the emergency room. Some of the workers exhibited symptoms such as dizziness and nausea.

“We immediately called a Code Triage,” said Jeremy Handland, RN, Clinical Manager Emergency Department. “We activated our command center and the staff worked extremely well together to treat the patients and make sure all of our patients needs were met – from the decontamination process and treatment to having them be in a comfortable area and having something to eat.”

The Monterey County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office had people on hand to interview all of the 18 workers and will be investigating the incident.

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is extremely prepared for such emergency scenarios. The hospital periodically conducts mass casualty incident (MCI) exercises to perfect the coordination and most effective processes in major emergencies. The last MCI at SVMHS took place on January 26th. That MCI drill specifically focused on an agricultural chemical release affecting a school.