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Hospitals offer X-rays of candy

A parent's Halloween nightmare already came true once this year: A razor blade was found in candy distributed at a party in Largo. No one was hurt, but the distributor _ someone in a clown suit _ has not been caught.

A few hospitals are offering to X-ray candy for free this year.

"It would be good to point out that X-rays will only detect metal," said Mary Beth Bowen of Lykes Memorial Hospital in Brooksville. "They won't detect glass or toxins or chemicals. You don't want to give people a false sense of security."

As an extra precaution, candy that is not commercially wrapped or that has been opened should be rejected; fruit should be cut, washed and carefully examined.

The hospitals offering to X-ray candy free include:

AMI Clearwater Community Hospital, 1521 Druid Road E, Clearwater. On Halloween only, no specific hours set. Go to the emergency room.

Metropolitan General, 7950 66th St. N, Pinellas Park. On Halloween, from 7 to 9 p.m. Go to main reception desk and ask for X-ray.

Morton F. Plant Hospital, 323 Jeffords St. (at S Fort Harrison Avenue), Clearwater. On Halloween, from 5 to 9 p.m. Go to radiology department.

Sun Coast Hospital, 2025 Indian Rocks Road, Largo. On Halloween, no specific hours set. Go to emergency room.

Centurion of Carrollwood Hospital, 7171 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. On Halloween, no specific hours set. Go through main entrance to X-ray department.

Tampa General Hospital, Davis Islands, Tampa. On Halloween from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Go to emergency room.

Lykes Memorial Hospital, 53 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Brooksville. On Halloween from 6 to 9 p.m. Go to emergency room.

HCA Bayonet Point-Hudson Medical Center, 14000 Fivay Road, Hudson. On Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Go to radiology department.

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