Letters Sent to Boston Hospitals Put Responders on High Alert

BOSTON --

Police teams were called to five Boston-area hospitals on Wednesday after letters mailed to the facilities put workers on alert.

Scores of emergency responders were deployed throughout the city to investigate the mailings, including police officers, firefighters, hazardous materials teams and a state police bomb squad.

The letters were sent by a zealous advocate for patients rights, acting as a representative of a medical advocacy group, according to police. The sender, who police said is an attorney, expressed concerned in the letters about "premature hospital death syndrome."

Workers were reportedly suspicious of the letters because they were printed in a mix of typed and hand-written words, according to police.

No charges have been filed in the incident, and police said it appears the content of the letters is protected under the first amendment. An investigation into the mailings is ongoing.

Police were first notified of a suspicious letter at New England Baptist Hospital at 10:47 a.m. Workers said they did not detect any hazardous materials or liquids in the envelope that contained the letter.

Employees at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center received a similar letter earlier in the day, and a third message arrived at Boston Medical Center shortly before noon.

Several minutes later, workers at Brigham & Womens Hospital telephoned police after discovering a letter, and a fifth missive was found at Tufts Medical Center at about 1:30 p.m., according to police. Investigators said the envelopes containing those letters also did not appear to be dangerous.

None of the hospitals was evacuated during the scares. Police said they have no reason to believe employees were in any real danger during the incidents.

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