Blue Hill: Hospital plans to reopen today

Posted Aug. 05, 2008, at 12 a.m.

BLUE HILL, Maine&nbsp- Blue Hill Memorial Hospital officials plan to reopen the hospital’s doors for full service at 8 a.m. today after being forced to evacuate patients when severe thunderstorms caused a flood in the basement on Sunday.

The hospital was closed for all but emergency services when administrators declared the flood a disaster Sunday afternoon. It remained closed Monday.

“Our first priority is to ensure the safety of our patients,” said hospital president and CEO Tim Garrity in a press release Monday. “Our next priority is to quickly and safely return the hospital to full operations.”

The flooding was contained to the kitchen area and made it impossible for employees to prepare food for patients.

“We do not have an operating kitchen so we cannot take care of our patients properly,” said hospital spokeswoman Deb Turner on Sunday.

No patients’ rooms were affected and no medical equipment was damaged.

The affected areas were cleaned and sanitized Sunday night and Monday.

“The cleanup is going smoothly,” Francoise Gervais, manager of marketing and community relations for the hospital, said Monday.

Blue Hill firefighters helped remove water using wet vacuums while more than 120 employees helped sanitize the area.

“They’ ve really taken up the task,” said Gervais of her fellow employees.

The hospital also had its water tested for contamination and received word from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday afternoon that the water was safe to drink, said Gervais.

Eight patients were safely transferred to Maine Coast Memorial in Ellsworth and two others were moved to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Sunday night, according to the press release.

The Sussman Medical Office Building, including the laboratory, Blue Hill Family Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging, Specialty Services, Blue Hill Women’ s Health Care and Oncology Outreach Services, also were closed Monday.

A grand reopening ceremony will be held on the hospital’ s front steps at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

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