Water crisis disrupts operations at Atlanta hospitals

A series of water main breaks disrupted care at several Atlanta hospitals over the weekend and prompted city officials to declare a state of emergency, CNN reported June 2.

Two water mains broke the afternoon of May 31, leaving much of downtown Atlanta without running water. 

Atlanta-based Emory University Hospital Midtown diverted ambulances the night of May 31, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The hospital rescheduled most outpatient appointments, including those for oncology and radiology, or shifted them to other Emory locations. On June 1, Emory Midtown transferred about 10 dialysis patients to other hospitals. Some laboratory testing services and equipment sterilization processes were also moved to other Emory hospitals. 

"We feel very confident that we have been able to maintain safe care and safe conditions," Adam Webb, MD, chief operating officer of Emory Midtown, told the Journal-Constitution. "But this has been very challenging and I think it's a situation that shows the vulnerabilities in our ability to provide healthcare based on our infrastructure."

Grady Memorial Hospital also delayed elective procedures over the weekend due to low water pressure, though the hospital and emergency department remained fully operational. Water service was restored at the facility June 2. The hospital was slated to resume normal operations for patient appointments, procedures and surgeries June 3, according to a separate report from the Journal-Constitution.

"We are thankful for our team, who has gone above and beyond to ensure patient safety and to continue delivering exceptional care during this time," the hospital said in a statement to the Journal-Constitution. "We also appreciate the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management working to resolve this issue."

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