1 dead in Mason City hospital laundry facility

Published 12:50 pm Saturday, January 16, 2010

Officials say a worker who suffered breathing problems at a Mason City hospital laundry facility where a chemical spill was discovered has died.

Emergency crews were called to Mercy Medical Center’s west campus Thursday evening on a report of a person not breathing.

The hospital on Friday said employees contained the chemical, sodium hydroxide, to one room in the building. The hospital said during the situation, employee David Weaver had a “medical emergency” and died.

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The hospital did not immediately release Weaver’s age or hometown.

Hospital spokeswoman Jodi Ball said officials don’t know why Weaver died and if the chemical was a factor or if he had underlying medical issues.

Sodium hydroxide is commonly used as chemical drain cleaner or laundry additive.

Four firefighters and four other hospital workers were also taken to the hospital after complaining of possible problems, but all are OK.