Air conditioning outage cancels surgeries at Indian River Medica - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Air conditioning outage cancels surgeries at Indian River Medical Center


VERO BEACH, Fla. - An air outage at Indian River Medical Center has canceled all surgeries and other medical procedures scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

An underground water line broke Saturday night, causing the air to stop cooling.

The warm temperatures can affect medical equipment, so the hospital's emergency room is diverting ambulances to hospitals in Sebastian, Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach.

Walk-in ER patients are still being accepted at the medical center, but anyone who needs to be admitted is being sent elsewhere.

The hospital has increased staff at its urgent care clinics in Vero Beach and Sebastian and is encouraging anyone with an emergency that's not extremely serious to visit them instead.

Mechanics have been working since Saturday night to fix the pipe. They worked through the night Sunday.

Some patients who couldn't be treated in the heat were transferred to other area hospitals. Anyone who could be discharged has been sent home.

According to hospital staff, they're being kept cool with portable chillers and more than 100 portable fans. Patients are also being given lots of water and bags of ice. 

Patients who had surgery, medical procedures or endoscopes scheduled for Monday were notified of the cancelations.

Below is a timeline of the problems, according to a news release from the hospital:


7 p.m.
The hospital says it continues to do everything to care for our patients (currently 84) and make them and their visitors and our staff comfortable. Free meals (lunch and dinner) have been provided to staff and visitors.
Surgeries and Cath lab procedures are cancelled for tomorrow (Tuesday). Patients have been notified.
Emergency Room remains open to walk-in patients. Ambulance diversion remains in effect.
Still anticipate pipe connections and system filling with water by midnight tonight. 
6 - 30 ton AC units arrived and being installed.   

3 p.m.
Additional portable AC units delivered and installed throughout hospital 
6 - 30 ton units being delivered and installed used to cool the operating rooms, surgical intensive care unit, Emergency Room, Cath Lab, and IT server room (each unit cools 30,000 sq ft)
IRMC continues to medically screen any patients who come to the ER. Only ambulances are being diverted.
Both Walk-in Care Center’s staffed and open through 7 pm.
Anticipate pipe connections and system filling with water by midnight tonight. 
Surgeries and Cath lab are cancelled for tomorrow. Notification will be made to patients.

8:30 a.m.
Indian River Medical Center’s two walk-in care locations are double their staffing for today.  Both locations have board certified emergency physicians onsite. 
Hours 8am – 7pm
Walk-in Care Pointe West
1960 Pointe West Drive, Vero Beach, 32966
Walk-in Care Sebastian
801 Wellness Way, Suite 107, Sebastian, 32958

Coumadin Checks
Flu Shots
Minor Injuries
Lab Tests
Minor Burns
Pre-op Clearances
School Physicals
Sprains and Strains

6:30 a.m.
Work continued throughout the night
Piping to be completed between 10 am – noon
ER Diversion remains in effect.   Tradition Medical Center has been activated.
Discharges continue for patients

9:30 a.m.
Emergency department placed on diversion for patients by ambulance (official time 9:42 am)
Limited use of larger hospital equipment (CT, MRI)

Memo sent to Board of Directors

5 p.m.
Surgeries, special procedures and outpatient endoscopy are cancelled for tomorrow.  Notifications to patients.

4 p.m.
Mid State Mechanical & IRMC engineering department are working to install temporary water lines.
Installing a temporary  line, bypassing the broken pipe
Work will continue throughout the night

2 p.m.
Sleeve pipe installed on broken water line. 
Upon pressure test; sleeve failed.

10:30 p.m.
House supervisor notified the administrator on call, of rising temperature.
Emergency department placed on diversion – stroke alerts only (official time 10:54 PM)
Transfer protocol’s with the following facilities activated: Sebastian River Medical Center, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center

8 p.m.
Chiller alarms notified with low water pressure
IRMC engineer team began to check system
Underground water piper was discovered to be broken
Work began to dig out pipe

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