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Vermont hospital extends operating room closure for odors

December 17, 2019 GMT

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) — The operating rooms in a satellite campus of Vermont’s largest hospital will be closed through January while officials continue the search for the cause of an odor that made some people sick in separate incidents in October and November, the hospital announced Tuesday.

Extensive testing by experts have not revealed the cause of the odor, the University of Vermont Medical Center said in a statement.

“We feel it’s critical that we do everything reasonably possible to determine what caused these two incidents so that we can work toward a solution,” said UVM Medical Center interim President Dr. Steve Leffler.

The hospital is working to reschedule or move the surgeries that have been scheduled for Fanny Allen during the closure.

On Nov. 27, employees complained of an exhaust-like smell and symptoms including headache and nausea. Seven employees were medically evaluated. A similar incident occurred in October.

Air quality was shown to be safe after both incidents. The cause of the smell, which employees had described alternately as smelling like hamburgers, bacon or fuel, has yet to be determined, the hospital said.

The operating rooms are the only impacted area. The rest of the Fanny Allen campus is operating normally.