What must have been going through the minds of emergency room personnel at Wheeling Hospital on Sunday morning? A man had just driven his vehicle up to the ambulance entrance and told them he had ingested poison.
And oh, by the way, there were "dangerous items" in the vehicle, he added.
Particularly in view of recent events in Boston, the emergency room staff may well have been alarmed. Who knew what was in the vehicle?
Yet these people know how to handle emergencies - even ones in which their own safety may be at risk. They called Wheeling police and firefighters. Then then did the smart thing: They asked the man to move his vehicle out into the parking lot.
He did. Police searched his vehicle and found nothing potentially harmful in it. The man was examined and it was found he had not ingested any dangerous substances. He was to be transported to a mental health facility.
Again, professionals who deal quickly and effectively with emergencies can be found at any hospital emergency room in the Ohio Valley. Sometimes they have to handle patients who are threats to their own safety as well as that of others around them. But when someone makes a comment such as that heard at Wheeling Hospital during the weekend - that there is a possibility of mass havoc - a special set of skills and an extraordinary mindset are needed.
Fortunately, the incident at Wheeling Hospital ended safely. But it was a reminder that training to deal with potentially catastrophic situations can pay off.