- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

CHICKASHA, Okla. (AP) - Indoor air issues at an Oklahoma hospital have forced it to close its operating rooms for an undetermined amount of time.

Grady Memorial Hospital officials say a recent review found higher than acceptable humidity in one of the facility’s large air-conditioning units, which serves the surgical area, The Journal Record (https://bit.ly/1NHtjP5 ) reported.

Hospital CEO and President Kean Spellman said the 58-year-old center doesn’t have financial liquidity to quickly make the needed corrections. Administrators already have contacted several other hospitals to provide surgeries for Grady patients until the matter is resolved.

Spellman noted other hospital services, such as the intensive care unit or emergency room, won’t be affected in the meantime.

Most of Grady’s 200 monthly surgeries are elective or nonemergency procedures that can be easily rescheduled. Spellman estimated the total includes three Cesarean-section deliveries and about 20 emergency procedures.

Spellman said correcting the problem isn’t as simple as purchasing a replacement air unit and plugging it in.

Inspectors first must review the equipment, estimated to cost at least $150,000, and even after the new unit is in place, overall airflow throughout the hospital will need to be rebalanced.

“While we understand we need to find an appropriate unit, we need to have the state of Oklahoma approve it,” Spellman said. “And they told us they’ll do their very best to review the architectural and engineering specs, but they can’t guarantee when.”

Chickasha Mayor Hank Ross said officials are looking at all possible options to help the hospital.

“The hospital is one of the largest economic drivers in the community,” Ross said. “We cannot allow the hospital to fail.”

Grady County has a population of about 54,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, of which 17,000 live in Chickasha. The Chickasha Chamber of Commerce lists the hospital as the city’s biggest employer, at about 400 people.

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Information from: The Journal Record, https://www.journalrecord.com


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