Skip to main content
Wednesday, Dec 20, 2023

Ballad Health statement on Greeneville chemical leak

On Wednesday morning, Ballad Health was notified of a chemical leak at La Quesera Mexicana in Greeneville, with multiple patients expected to arrive at Greeneville Community Hospital.

By 11 a.m., the health system received reports of potentially dozens of patients who would need care. Incident Command Centers were established at both Greeneville Community Hospital and Johnson City Medical Center to allow teams to best allocate resources and utilize the Ballad Health Trauma Network.

In total, the system received 25 patients from the incident. As of 12:30 p.m., Ballad Health ceased operations at its Incident Command Center at Johnson City Medical Center, and the command center at Greeneville Community Hospital followed suit at 4 p.m. Throughout, Ballad Health was able to maintain sufficient clinical coverage on staff and on standby to treat the influx of patients.

All patients were in stable condition, and most were able to be discharged after a required six-hour observation period.

Leaders throughout the health system have recognized the strength of both hospitals, the dedication of their team members and Ballad Health's coordinated network of care as being unmatched throughout this incident. Greeneville Community Hospital received 20 patients from the leak, a significant surge from its day-to-day operations, and teams at Johnson City Medical Center also responded to an unrelated trauma patient arriving by helicopter in the middle of the incident, working diligently to ensure that patient received care as well. Team members and medical staff at Greeneville Community Hospital and Johnson City Medical Center also worked closely with local EMS, the Ballad Health Regional Communications Center and representatives from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to align expertise and responses.

Ballad Health commends every team member who did their part to ensure every patient received quality healthcare during the incident: at Greeneville Community Hospital, team members in the emergency department, environmental services, registration and all departments who sent team members to aid operations, and at Johnson City Medical Center, the engineering team that quickly set up a decontamination tent outside the facility's emergency department, as well as security teams and emergency department teams that ensured a smooth continuum of care for patients arriving at the facility. Additionally, groups of compassionate team members at both facilities stepped up to volunteer their time as translators, helping with family support for Spanish-speaking visitors related to the incident.

Ballad Health also extends thanks to local EMS, the Ballad Health Regional Communications Center and members from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. The quick, seamless coordination ensured patients received prompt treatment while maintaining care for current patients and without risking contamination. Ballad Health is proud of the work of its team members, both hospitals' response to the incident and the promise of the health system's network of care.