SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. – Used needles, vials, medicine and other medical waste that once filled the halls and rooms of an abandoned Springfield mansion has now disappeared.
The medical waste was first brought to light just over a week ago in a Messed Up investigation.
The state Department of Environment and Conservation and Robertson County Emergency Management officials began their own investigation to search for the person responsible for illegally dumping the items at the 9,000-square foot mansion on Memorial Boulevard.
Now, state and local officials do not know who cleaned up the medical waste in the house or where it was taken.
At last check, thousands of unsecured patient medical records are still left in boxes scattered throughout the mansion.
The boxes are marked “Radnor Medical” and “Millbrook Medical Center,” and many of them have the name Lance Gardiner on them.
Authorities are now including the 52-year-old businessman from Brentwood in their investigation.
Gardiner's name is also found on Robertson County tax records for the mansion, and his name has been linked to several medical centers that have shut down.
Sources say several offices run by Gardiner have shut down, including a Med West doctor's office on Hwy 12 in Ashland City and another office across the street from the Cheatham County courthouse.
The office on Hwy 12 was locked and patient files were piled neatly on the floor and under a desk.
The owner of the building near the courthouse, Dora Salinas, said Gardiner left in a hurry, leaving medical equipment behind in drawers.
News 2 has tried to contact Gardiner over the last week but calls were not returned.
Springfield police said they were also in the process of contacting the owner to urge him to clean up the property, so that the city would not have to take charge and be liable for the disposing.
Police stopped by the abandoned home Tuesday night to find three men in a van, who claimed they were moving the medical records to other locations on orders from Gardiner, their boss.
Police told the men to put the records back and no charges were filed.
Authorities told News 2 it is possible the medical waste was already taken from the house before officers came by Tuesday night.
Most concerning to authorities is the fact that they do not know where the medical waste was taken, and health officials say it's a safety hazard.
News 2 asked Brian Todd of the Metro Health Department how Metro would handle a similar case.
He said, “We would, one, make sure it is secure and medical waste not accessible to anyone. We know that hazardous waste is just that. Medical waste is hazardous waste.”
Todd said the needles could be contaminated with diseases such as hepatitis or HIV.
“If it is identified as a hazard, you don't have to ID the owner. You can move forward and if it is a public health risk, eliminating the risk,” he said.
Todd also said the medical records need to be secured and kept confidential.
But even though the mansion is boarded up, and there is a padlock on the door, the windows and doors behind the mansion are wide open.
- Apr. 7, 2010: Men caught removing records from medical dumping ground
- Apr. 6, 2010: State investigates illegally dumped medical waste
- Apr. 5, 2010: Medical waste illegally dumped in abandoned mansion