Since past few days, Dr. Damon Dietrich and other doctors have seen patients rushing in their emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center with similar symptoms: respiratory problems, headaches and queasiness.
In the past week, 11 employees who have been out on the water clearing out oil from BP's blown-out well have been cured for what Dietrich describes "a pattern of symptoms" that might have been caused by the burning of crude oil, poisonous smokes from the oil or the dispersants abandoned in the Gulf to break it up.
All employees were cured and discharged.
Dr. Damon said, "One person comes in, it could be multiple things. Eleven people come in with these symptoms, it makes it incredibly suspicious".
Some studies have examined long-standing health outcomes of exposure to oil. But a few workers moving around the Gulf Coast beaches and going out into the swamps and waters have reported flu-like signs, a similar grievance amongst crews organized for the 1989 Exxon Valdez leak in Alaska.
BP and U. S. Coast Guard officers have said that dehydration, heat, food poisoning or other unconnected factors might have caused the employees' symptoms. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is looking into the matter.