Flood at BMH forces services relocation


BRATTLEBORO -- Heavy rains Wednesday night caused flooding at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital's Richards Building, forcing the hospital to temporary relocate a number of services.

BMH President and CEO Steve Gordon said the intense storms Wednesday caused the drains in the parking lot to fail, sending streams of water down the Richards Building staircase and into the lobby of the building.

Gordon said in some areas of the lobby the water was three inches deep.

"We had some powerful storm cells that came through and a lot of rain fell in a short period of time. It was deluge," Gordon said. "Our drains could not keep up with all of the water."

The Brattleboro Fire Department responded, Gordon said, and hospital staff worked in to the night to mitigate the damage.

The hospital announced Friday that a number of services would be relocated to the main building.

During the relocation patient registration for laboratory services will be conducted in the exercise room on the main floor while all other outpatient services will be done at the main hospital registration station.

Pre-op assessments will be held in the medical staff lounge on the first floor, and laboratory services will be located in the exercise room on the ground floor while the Richards Building lobby is cleaned and rehabilitated.

Gordon said it will probably be a few weeks before the Richards Building lobby will be open for all of the services.

"The key was to get the water out as quickly as possible and start to dehumidify the area," Gordon said.

The lobby entrance will re-open Monday for access to CT scans and MRIs, as well as to use the elevator to get to the first and second floor of the Richards Building.

Gordon said the CT scan and MRI machines, which are located on the ground floor of the Richards Building and which are two of the most expensive machines in the hospital, were not damaged during Wednesday night's flood.

Construction crews were called in Friday to tear out Sheetrock, Gordon said, and any surfaces that were under water will be thoroughly cleaned, or replaced, before the lobby is open again for patient services.

He said it might a few weeks before all of the work is done and all of the services are back in the Richards Building.

Gordon said hospital administrators will meet with the building engineers to try to determine what exactly happened Wednesday, and to also try to prevent such a flood from happening again.

According to Gordon the lobby of the Richards Building flooded once before, though not as significantly.

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital opened the Richards Building in April 2009.

The three floor, 34,000 square foot building was the first addition to BMH in 25 years when it opened.

"From an operational standpoint we are in relatively good shape," Gordon said. "We are going to meet with the engineers try to understand what happened and we will try to prevent it from happening again."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.


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