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Staff at Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals will be wearing extra gear when treating patients who are suspected to have overdosed on opioids.

Summit Health Monday announced it has updated its policy and equipment to ensure their frontline staff can handle potential opioids safely. The health system said carfentanil, a synthetic opioid 10,000 times more potent than morphine, poses a risk to those using it, as well as to first responders and health care workers who may come in contact with it while treating patients.

Clinical employees at both hospitals who are treating suspected overdose patients will be required to wear a gown, gloves, goggles and a special mask that can filter particles out of the air, the health system said.

“Our staff cannot be too careful when dealing with this dangerous substance, and the fact that it is hard to see a particle of carfentanil on someone’s clothes presents our staff with additional challenges,” said Waynesboro Hospital Emergency Department director Joe Nadzady. “We need to make sure we are able to offer the best care to our community, and protecting our caregivers is vital to us being able to help others.”

The health system said carfentanil could be to blame for an overdose death in Franklin County. Other Midstate officials have confirmed the drug’s presence in the area.


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