Follow Up – To Smelly Story

A Specimen Cup of Vinegar

On Friday, May 17 the Daily Press newspaper reported that an overpowering smell at the VA Hospital in Hampton on May 15 had caused two floors of a building to be evacuated. Policemen, firemen and a haz/mat team were called in, and according to the hospital’s interim medical director, “the source of the smell was a “urine sample from a veteran.” But an article in yesterday’s paper stated: “the source of the smell that caused the Hampton VA Medical Center to evacuate one of its buildings [last Wednesday] was neither urine nor a dangerous chemical. It was just vinegar.” The original report was a sensation that put the patients and employees of the hospital in an unfavorable light. Based on what was known at the time, the hospital’s report to the newspaper should have read “the source of the pungent smell was an unidentified liquid which has been sent to Richmond for analysis.” In that case the newspaper article would likely have received no more than passing notice. I believe that The embarrassment caused by the original article should be rectified. The hospital should apologize to its employees, as well as to its patients and their families.The Daily Press, although not directly responsible for the error, should print a clarification in the “Correction” section of the paper.

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