A Coleraine woman was left in “agonising pain” after she was burned by a lethal leakage of suspected sulphuric acid at Causeway Hospital.
Louise Moody is currently being treated for serious burns to her back and arms after slipping in a puddle of the deadly acid outside the X-Ray Department of the Coleraine hospital at tea time on Friday.
The Northern Health Trust says it will hold a full investigation into the matter.
Speaking from her bed in the Burns Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, yesterday, a shaken Mrs Moody said: “I keep thinking it’s a nightmare and I’m going to wake up.
“I have extensive burns to my back and my two arms. I’ve been told I’ll probably need skin grafts. The consultant will be coming around again on Tuesday to decide what to do next.
“It’s fortunate that this substance didn’t come down upon a waiting room full of patients.”
Mrs Moody, an administration manager, said that around 4.45pm on Friday she was sitting in the X-Ray Department when she heard what sounded like “a sluice of water from above.”
“I went out onto the corridor and there was brown liquid coming from the ceiling and running down the walls and splashing onto the floor
“So I ran to get a yellow cone to put beside it so that no one would step on it. It was then that I slipped and fell into the puddle but I immediately jumped up.
“At first I thought ‘that must have been boiling water’ as my back was burning immediately. I was pulling the blouse away from my back and two orthopedic staff ,who were up the corridor, ran up to help me.
“The blouse just disintegrated in my hands and they ripped if off me and helped splash water on my back. I was put in a wheelchair and taken to A&E.
“I was in a lot of pain and in total shock. I kept having to get into the shower to wash the material away and doctors checked my PH levels. A nurse with burns experience suggested that I be wrapped in clingfilm.”
Mrs Moody said she has worked for the Northern Trust for over 30 years - 14 of them at the hospital in Coleraine.
She added: “I think it may have been sulphuric acid, I’m not sure. It was being used to clear some sort of blockage.”
It’s believed a roof collapsed following th incident and the ward was closed.
MLA Adrian McQuillan called for an immediate inquiry.
“This was a shocking incident and my thoughts go out to Louise and her family. I hope that she can make a full recovery.
“What would have happened if a little child had fallen into this puddle. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
“I’ve been saying that the Northern Trust is a real shambles for years and this is more evidence of it.”