• Wed. May 25th, 2022

Old bacteria sample triggered Dudley Hospital A&E shutdown

ByRandall B. Phelps

Dec 24, 2021

The discovery of an ancient sample of bacteria was the reason for the temporary closure of the A&E department at Russells Hall Hospital last night.

Hospital chiefs made the decision to close the doors to the emergency department for just under an hour – shortly after 7 p.m. yesterday (Thursday, December 23).

Early reports suggested some sort of chemical incident triggered the shutdown, with the Express & Star reporting that a man entered the facility with anthrax.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which operates the hospital, has not commented on the nature of the incident – nor have West Midlands Police.

The UK Health Security Agency said, however: “UKHSA was made aware of an article which contained samples of unknown ancient bacteria in a sealed slide.

“Based on the information given to us, we did not believe it was an immediate risk to the public or hospital staff and advised the hospital to dispose of it in their incinerator. ”

Hospital bosses said the A&E department was temporarily closed to the public for about 50 minutes and a trust spokesperson added: “Ambulances were diverted to other local hospitals during the shutdown, ahead of the reopening of the establishment around 8.15 p.m. ”

Police are not believed to be investigating the incident, although another force is expected to conduct follow-up investigations as a result. But no other information has been given yet.

Heads of hospitals declined to say whether all services had resumed normally, but simply urged people to “continue to seek help normally, including calling NHS111 and visiting NHS111 online when they need urgent medical attention when it’s not an emergency.