Letter to the Editor
The residents of Wilson County experienced a disaster this past week which affected every resident of the county. The community of Neodesha and many others responded to assist those who were affected. The employees working at the water plant, electrical department and city shop, as well as the EMS, fire and police departments, city support staff, city administrator, mayor and commissioners also demonstrated exceptional teamwork. Please take time to say "Thank You" to these individuals. They spent many long hours working to bring utility services back to the residents of Neodesha, as well as assisting those who could not return to their homes.
On Saturday, June 30, Wilson Medical Center (WMC) was notified through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) that the hospital needed to evacuate our acute patients. The planning process to evacuate began immediately. Later that day, the hospital received a second notification from KDHE stating that they were leaving the decision to evacuate up to the hospital based upon our evaluation of the situation. Following a thorough investigation, WMC made the decision to evacuate the acute patients. This decision was based upon our consideration for the safety, quality of care and comfort of our patients. Wilson Medical Center was NEVER closed. We evacuated our acute patients, but continued to provide Emergency Services, as well as Outpatient Services, including Laboratory and X-Ray.
At that time, with the possibility of more rain, there was no way to determine how long we would be without water. This was coupled with the threat of continued flooding. Without water, our facility had limited fire protection, no air conditioning, and compromised sanitation and infection control. The hospital must have water for the chillers, which provides cool air to the hospital. Although the hospital's fire alarm system was functioning properly, without water for fire protection, the hospital had to implement the Fire Watch Policy. The safety and quality of care of our patients would be jeopardized if we did not evacuate our patients to facilities that could properly care for them.
WMC resumed admitting acute patients Thursday, July 5, when water was once again available for fire protection, as well as being pumped into the chiller system for cool air.
I would like to thank our patients and their families for being so understanding. I also want to thank the wonderful WMC employees and others who were able to help move equipment and records to another floor in anticipation of water coming into the hospital. This did not happen, but we were prepared.
One positive note was that neither the new hospital facility nor the property was affected by the flood waters. We have been busy finalizing plans for new equipment, furnishings and the transition plan for moving to the new facility. We have been extremely pleased with the progress and workmanship of the new hospital. Best of all, we are under budget. Look for highlights of the new facility within the next few weeks.
Deanna Pittman, CEO
Wilson Medical Center