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Posted at 6:35 PM ET, 05/12/2010

Shady Grove Hospital's ER reopens

By Erica Johnston

Update,7:50 p.m.:

The emergency room at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital has been reopened after a suspicious substance was determined to be nontoxic.

Hospital officials said in a prepared statement that the ER was closed late Wednesday afternoon after a patient reported itchiness after opening an envelope at his home. The emergency room was reopened about 7 p.m., after Montgomery County Fire and Rescue determined that no danger was posed.

Authorities shut down the emergency room of Shady Grove hospital late Wednesday when a man suffered itchy arms after coming into contact with powder in an envelope, Montgomery County officials said.

Many details remain unclear, but county police and hazmat units were sent to the hospital about 5:40 p.m., said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a fire department spokesman. The man was put into isolation at the emergency room after complaining of itchiness after opening an envelope containing an unknown white powder.

The envelope was sealed in a plastic bag and held in a decontamination room of the hospital by hazmat investigators, until they can run tests, Garcia said.

It was not immediately where the envelope was opened, Garcia said.

-- Clarence Williams

By Erica Johnston  | May 12, 2010; 6:35 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Maryland  
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