Chemical spill at clinic sends 8 to hospital

Eight people were sent to the local hospital Thursday morning following an accidental chemical spill inside a medical facility on Calvada Boulevard.

The patients, all employees of HealthCare Partners’ Calvada Urgent Care Clinic, located at 1501 E. Calvada Blvd., were transported to Desert View Hospital as a precaution after they were potentially exposed to a chemical known as phenol when the material was accidentally spilled inside the building.

“The incident occurred after a staff member disposed of a bottle of phenol, a chemical used to clean medical equipment at the clinic. Following the disposal process, the team member noticed a small amount of the liquid had leaked onto the floor, creating a strong odor throughout the building,” Jeremy Cox, HealthCare Partners Executive Director of Operations for Nye County, said in a statement.

“The odor prompted HealthCare Partners to evacuate all patients and team members from the building. Following the organization’s emergency protocol, team members immediately contacted the local fire department. As a precautionary measure, emergency personnel coordinated a triage area outside of the clinic to ensure the safety of all patients and team members. Eight team members were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, with no serious injuries reported,” he said.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, phenol is used in medicinal products such as ear and nose drops, throat lozenges, and mouthwashes as well as in disinfectants and the production of phenolic resins, which are reportedly used in plywood, and in products related to the construction, automotive and appliance industries.

The EPA states inhalation and skin exposure to phenol is highly irritating. It can also pose a danger to the eyes and mucous membranes in humans. In acute cases, the toxic substance can cause irregular breathing, muscle weakness and tremors, loss of coordination, convulsions, coma and respiratory arrest at lethal doses.

Pahrump Valley Fire Rescue Services Chief Scott Lewis said there were no reports of anyone inside the building coming into direct physical contact with the substance, but as a precaution medics on scene evaluated everyone who had been inside the building, including staff and patients, for signs of direct or inhaled exposure.

Based on that evaluation, eight were taken to the local hospital for further care.

“Desert View Hospital is working in partnership with HealthCare Partners to ensure that every individual exposed to any hazardous chemicals in today’s spill is not in respiratory distress and is properly treated. Patients are receiving oxygen and breathing treatments, and DVH Emergency Department physicians have contacted Poison Control to make sure that every precaution necessary is taken for these patients,” said Meagan Kowalski, director of marketing and physician liaison for DVH.

“As of this time we have had no patients with life-threatening symptoms. DVH Emergency Department staff are trained for emergency situations like these and are handling the situation professionally and efficiently,” she added.

HealthCare Partners said it wanted to thank both PVFRS and staff at the Calvada Urgent Care Clinic for the quick response to the spill.

“At HealthCare Partners, the safety of our patients and team members is always our top priority. We would like to thank Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services and our team members at the clinic for their rapid response to this incident,” Cox said.

The facility will remained closed until Saturday.

HealthCare Partners asks that those in need of urgent care contact their primary care physicians.

For more information about the closure or for answers to questions, those interested can contact HealthCare Partners by calling 775-751-0695.