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Attorney General Working to Bring Free Medical Care for Oil Spill Concerns to Mississippi Gulf Coast

By Rhonda Miller | Published 28 Apr 2011 04:38pm | comments

Attorney General Jim Hood is working to get medical treatment for people who believe they’re sick from the BP oil spill. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports a medical unit could arrive on the Gulf Coast in two or three months.

Some people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are concerned about the impact of the oil spill on their health. They’ve been bringing the Attorney General information about their ailments. Hood said the health concerns of coastal residents require attention – soon.

"I think we will be able to get the Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health to combine resources and get some money from BP or the federal government or the CDC and get them working together, to at least have some units come down for a period of time and try to treat people that are having respiratory problems or problems they think are related to the BP spill," Hood said.

The Attorney General said he’s heard the most health concerns from residents he met at meetings in Waveland and Pascagoula.

"People were frustrated. They said, ’My doctor’s great but all they do is give me a steroid and an antibiotic if I have a lung ailment.’ Their doctors are doing the best that they can," Hood said.

Residents, or their doctors, can call the Mississippi Poison Control Center about health concerns until funding and other details for a medical unit are finalized.

Dr. Robert Cox is Medical Director of the Poison Control Center in Jackson.

"We have been fielding calls from people who are concerned about the health effects since the start of the Gulf oil crisis," Cox said.

Some people with health problems are having blood tests for volatile organic compounds, which are in the air and can come from oil and other sources.

Dr. Cox, at the Poison Control Center, said he considers the tests a waste of money because they measure chemicals people likely came in contact with that day, possibly from cigarette smoke, filling up the car at the gas station, or driving in traffic.
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Note: The Mississippi Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 or onlnine at: poisoncontrol.umc.edu

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