MedStar employee dies after responding to maintenance request

WASHINGTON – An employee of MedStar Washington Hospital Center died Sunday afternoon after responding to a maintenance request and being overcome by fumes.

In a news release, MedStar Washington said Melvin Lewis, a 15-year employee of the hospital, responded to a request to fix the air conditioning in the mechanical room of the hospital’s East Building when the incident occurred.

An employee who worked with Lewis in the engineering department assisted him, as did the Rapid Response Team. Both Lewis and the employee were taken to the emergency department at the hospital. Lewis later died.

The other employee will be released after observation.

As a precaution, some areas of the East Building were evacuated – but patients were able to return to their rooms after an hour, once the D.C. Fire & EMS Hazardous Material Team gave clearance.

No further information was immediately available about the cause of the fumes or what they were, but the hospital says it’s cooperating with “external agencies” and there will be an internal review.

“All of us who are part of the Hospital Center and MedStar Health families send deepest sympathies and prayers to the Lewis family. Mr. Lewis was well-known throughout the hospital and will be remembered for always flashing an ever-ready smile,” the hospital said in the release.

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