How would you handle a “Psychosomatic” incident?

Psychosomatic is reporting an event that maybe some of us have come in contact with before.  You’re called to an incident with many patients, possibly sickened by an unknown source.  You arrive to find no hazardous material, or clues present.  What is your protocol? Level A and monitor? Approach with less caution?

It all started with a discussion of genetics during a biology class on Friday morning.

The topic of conversation among the students at Greater Lowell Technical School then switched to blood and blood types.

A boy walking to get a drink of water fainted.

One of his classmates followed suit. Then another.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the school was evacuated,” the Tyngsborough Fire Department said in a statement.

Authorities are calling the incident a “psychosomatic or stress-induced event.” They said an investigation determined the students were talking about their fears of blood when the fainting began.

Both fire and police personnel responded to the school around 9:11 a.m. after receiving a report of “multiple students down in a classroom.”

“Tyngsborough and Lowell Fire crews evaluated the air quality in the classroom and nearby sections of the school, investigating a number of possible issues,” the fire department said in the statement. “These included a potential chemical release, illness, or environmental factors, but no danger or physical cause for concern was found. “

The three students who fainted, two males and a female, were conscious when they were evaluated by EMTs at the scene. Two of the students were taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

“All three students are believed to be free of any physical injury,” the fire department said.

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One comment

  1. Three students out of a whole classroom does not indicated a Level A response. Level C PPE with SCBA is my best choice. We use the Drager unknown matrix from Chris Hawey’s “Hazardous Materials Air Monitoring and Detection Devices”, along with PID to identify any sampling hot spots. Also GasID at hotspots.

    We also try to get victim interviews.

    The worst part is coming up with a statement for the public as to why a hazard was not found.

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