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Hospital put on 'lockdown' as staff are exposed to toxic chemical

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Medical staff working at Newcastle General Hospital had to be decontaminated after coming into contact with a woman who had been exposed to a toxic chemical.

The accident and emergency unit of the hospital was put on “lockdown” and no-one was allowed in for 30 minutes while the woman was being treated. The staff who treated the woman, believed to be in her 40s, had to be decontaminated afterwards.

It is believed that the woman, from Northumberland, had been contaminated with phosphane; a highly toxic chemical used in pest control.

She was found by police close to a remote farm in Tynedale.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “On arrival, it was established the woman had come into contact with phosphane gas, commonly used in vermin control.

“The gas dissipates when it comes into contact with moisture or the air and there is no apparent public health risk.

“A small number of officers and medical staff who came into contact with the woman are being checked over and released.”

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