Nineteen patients and staff members at a hospital in New Hampshire have been evacuated after beginning to vomit after a suspected chemical leak.
The turmoil started shortly before 9am, with five staff members in Exeter Hospital’s operating room complaining of nausea.
By midday, more than a dozen people were being treated for sickness and dizziness.
While hospital officials have yet to determine the cause, reports claim it is being investigated as a carbon monoxide leak.
Carbon monoxide, which is odorless and colorless, causes vomiting and dizziness, and can be fatal.
More than a dozen staff members and patients were evacuated from Exeter Hospital (pictured) at around 9am after starting to vomit, feel nauseous and dizzy
The operating room was evacuated and patients were taken to the parking lot and grassy areas close to the hospital, about 50 miles north of Boston.
Patients were sent to other area hospitals for treatment and two ambulances from the fire department in neighboring town, Kingston, came to the scene.
A hospital spokesman said: ‘No source has been determined at this point. In an abundance of caution we evacuated the OR and closed it.’
The Epping Fire Department investigated the possibility of a carbon monoxide problem, according to CBS.
Carbon Monoxide is made when a fossil fuel is burned in a vehicle, generator, grill, furnace or elsewhere and can cause illness or death in minutes.
If the gas builds up in an enclosed space, any people or animals in that space will be killed instantly. All carbon monoxide poisoning results from human behavior so it is completely preventable. Appliances that are not ventilated properly can allow the gas to accumulate to dangerous amounts.
There were no dizziness complaints from the emergency room but it was evacuated as a precaution since it is close to the operating room.
Town manager Russel Dean told CBS: ‘What we know is patients were being treated with flu-like symptoms when those treating them also started feeling ill so the OR was shut down.’
He said the OR patients were moved to the ER until it was also shut down, at which point a staging area was set up outside the hospital.
A statement from the hospital said all other hospital wings were unaffected by the problem and running as usual.
Their statement said most people affected by the problem are now feeling better.
‘Most experienced only minor symptoms and received supportive treatment,’ it said.