An Evaporator Accident

In the process of maintaining a nuclear power plant, considerable liquid waste is accumulated that is contaminated with radioactive materials. The disposal is cumbersome and expensive if the waste is in its liquid state. If the solvents are evaporated leaving only the contaminated solid residue, it is much easier to handle and less expensive to dispose of. The piece of equipment that is used to convert the liquid waste to a solid form is called an evaporator.

At 2:30 PM, a nuclear power plant technician is called to repair one of the two evaporators. While in a protective suit, he enters the room and proceeds to work on the evaporator. Due to a misunderstanding he begins work on the evaporator that is still functioning. The high level of noise in the room prevents him from recognizing he is working on a unit that is operational.

As he is removing the last bolt for the access port on the unit, hot radioactive sludge pours on him from his abdomen down. A nearby technician sees the accident and notifies the control room. The control room notifies the the local emergency responders and the nearby hospital at which you are working. The first aid team at the plant removes the patient from the scene and cuts off the contaminated protective clothing. When the ambulance arrives, the patient is wrapped in sheets and the technician states that the legs are contaminated with 2,000 counts per minute each. The ambulance transports the victim and a radiation technician to your hospital.

The ambulance calls you on the the cellular phone and describes the situation. The patient is a 32 year old male with no prior medical or surgical history. He is concious and in pain from the burns. His pulse is 100 per minute, respirations 20 per minute, and blood pressure 156/84 mm hg. Their ETA is 15 minutes. An IV has been started. Your response is:

  1. Transport the patient to a different facility as the degree of trauma cannot be safely handled by your hospital.
  2. Transport the patient to a facility that is specially prepared to handle radiation accidents.
  3. Finalize the preparations you began when you received initial notification by the plant.