NEW ORLEANS – Seven people have been admitted into the West Jefferson Medical Center and are receiving treatment for having contact with dispersant while working to clean up the oil spill.
Taslin Alfonso, a spokesperson for the hospital, said two of the men came by ambulance and one by helicopter. All three were on the same boat in Venice. The other four came by ground.
Alfonso said it "seems to be the case" that some of the men, such as the one flown in by helicopter, have worse conditions than the rest, but the hospital can't release any more information at this time.
Because they are still being examined and treated by doctors, the cause of the men's condition is still unknown. But Alfonso said the workers do believe that the dispersant caused their symptoms.
Alfonso said they were all complaining of "severe" headaches, but none of these instances are considered critical. Alfonso said there are other health concerns at this time, but the family did not want to disclose that information to the media.
"This is the first time that we've gotten patients complaining of something related to the oil spill, so at this time we're just trying to assess the patients and making them safe," Alfonso said.
The men said they were in Venice about an hour offshore when they began to feel the symptoms.