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Morris Hospital making progress

Additional services being restored daily

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 8:25 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 8:45 a.m. CDT
(Photo courtesy of Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers)
Morris Hospital President & CEO Mark Steadham, foreground, gives Congressman Adam Kinzinger a tour of the flood-damaged Morris Hospital on Friday, April 19. The hospital is making progress on clean-up and recovery, with available services continuing to increase by the day.

Morris Hospital is still not able to admit patients, but available services continue to increase by the day as the hospital recovers from the more than $1 million in flood damage it suffered last week.

“A big thank you to all of our employees who have done an excellent job stepping in and doing extra duties and new jobs,” said Mark Steadham, president and CEO of Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers. “As well as some of our employees waiting at home patiently for us to clean up so they can get back to work.”

Morris Hospital had to evacuate 47 patients Thursday, based on recommendations from the Emergency Management Agency, which was worried the water would continue to rise Friday.

“It’s always a difficult situation to even just consider the evacuation of our patients,” said Steadham. “I just want to say a big thank you to everyone involved — hospital staff, emergency personnel, ambulance staff, everyone just did an extraordinary job. It couldn’t have gone better from our perspective.”

Of the 47 patients, 25 were transferred to other hospitals and 22 went home or to their nursing homes, said Janet Long, hospital public relations manager.

Hospital officials hope to have a timeline for when the hospital can admit patients again by Tuesday afternoon.

It resumed offering outpatient laboratory testing and the majority of its diagnostic cardiac, imaging and pulmonary testing services Monday.

These services have been unavailable since Thursday because of flooding in the hospital’s basement, which houses the pharmacy, laboratory, cafeteria, medical records and information technology. Water did not reach any patient areas.

The lower level is 75,000 square feet and was covered in three to four inches of water. The basement flooded from water reaching the receiving dock area. Hospital staff, emergency responders, and volunteers worked to fill and stack sandbags to stop the water Thursday, but water still reached the inside.

The cost estimate to fix the damage is in excess of $1 million, said Steadham, and that estimate does not include the loss of business from being unable to admit patients.

In addition to testing services at the hospital, the Braidwood, Channahon, Dwight, Gardner, Marseilles, Minooka, Morris and Newark healthcare centers all returned to normal operations Monday.

The emergency room is still open to only walk-ins. Ambulances are being diverted to other area hospitals. Sunday the emergency room saw 43 patients, said Long, which is low compared to the average day, but pretty high since none was brought in by ambulance.

SERVPRO cleaning company is working 24 hours a day with about 40 people on each shift to clean up and decontaminate the hospital, said Steadham. The hospital also is working closely with an industrial hygienist who will certify all of the work has been done according to requirements.

All carpet that came in contact with water is being removed, as is the lower section of the drywall that got wet.

Getting the hospital’s lab up and running is at the top of the hospital’s list because a functioning lab is the “critical path to getting all patient services back up and operational,” including inpatient care and surgery, according to a press release from the hospital.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with the dedication our employees have for this organization,” said Steadham in the release. “They want to bring their patients back here for inpatient care and surgery as soon as possible and are working tirelessly to help make that happen.”

“We are also deeply touched and appreciative of the outpouring of community support and donations during this unfortunate time.”

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