UVM closes operating rooms at Fanny Allen campus after health complaints

Local News

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Operating rooms at the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Fanny Allen campus will be closed for the rest of the year after employees complained of an exhaust-like smell that caused headaches and nausea.

Hospital officials say seven Fanny Allen employees were medically evaluated at urgent care on Nov. 27. Similar complaints about the odors — described as everything from hamburgers to bacon to “two-stroke fuel” — were reported in October.

UVMMC’s Interim President Dr. Stephen Leffler said Thursday that a preliminary air-quality investigation by state officials and an environmental consultant turned up nothing unusual.

“Although testing has indicated that the air quality throughout the building remains safe, we understand that the situation has been upsetting for employees,” Leffler said. “We need to get to the bottom of it.”

Surgeries scheduled for Fanny Allen’s campus in Colchester have been shifted to UVMMC’s main facility at 111 Colchester Avenue in Burlington. Patients who will be affected will be contacted by their provider, hospital officials said.

Other services at Fanny Allen, such as rehabilitation and urgent care, will remain open while the air-quality concerns continue to be investigated.

Leffler said all potential remedies are on the table, including the possibility that Fanny Allen may require significant infrastructure upgrades.

“We’re going to listen to our consultants that are there,” Leffler said. “We’ll think about all those things and make a decision, we won’t go back in there until it’s safe for our patients and staff.”

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