Government, Health Care, and Manufacturing

Aspen Surgical employees taken to hospital

April 17, 2013
| By AP |
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Thirteen employees at a West Michigan medical supply manufacturing business who were having trouble breathing were taken to a hospital for treatment and later released, officials said Wednesday.

The cause of the illnesses Tuesday night at Caledonia Township-based Aspen Surgical facility wasn't immediately known. Aspen Surgical manufactures and sells needles, instruments and other medical supplies, according to its website.

In an email, Caledonia Township Fire Chief Brian Bennett told The Associated Press those taken to a hospital Tuesday night were treated and released. He said air quality monitoring is planned Wednesday. The cause of the illnesses was under investigation.

"No specific product was found," Bennett said.

Crews responded about 9:45 p.m. following reports of employees having trouble breathing at the facility in Caledonia Township, about 15 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. They evaluated or treated 63 people at the scene and 13 were taken to a hospital.

Those sickened reported respiratory problems, headaches and other conditions, Bennett said.

A hazardous materials team that responded didn't find hazardous chemicals in the air, but the facility was ventilated. Fire crews cleared the scene early Wednesday and turned the response over to Aspen Surgical, which is part of Hill-Rom Holdings Inc.

Hill-Rom spokesman Larry Baumann said operations at the facility returned to normal Wednesday morning.

"The health and safety of our employees" is Hill-Rom's top priority, Baumann said.

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