D.C. hospital enters 4th week without running water after bacteria treatment fails

Gabrielle Masson - Print  | 

Washington, D.C.-based St. Elizabeths Hospital enters its fourth week without running water after Pseudomonas and Legionella bacteria survived a water system flush Oct. 11, according to The Washington Post.

The psychiatric hospital shut off its water after the discovery of bacteria Sept. 26 and hired contractors to flush its water system with chlorine.

"After super chlorination of the water system, test results showed evidence of remaining bacteria," Wayne Turnage, the district's deputy mayor of health and human services, said in an Oct. 17 statement cited by The Washington Post.

The water is being treated again, though officials don't have an exact date for when the water will be potable. Officials did not respond to The Washington Post when asked how the bacteria survived treatment.

Patients and staff are currently using bottled water, hand sanitizer and portable showers. Dishwashers can't be used while the system is flushed, so outside contractors are bringing in food.

Some patients haven't showered in weeks, Andrea Procaccino, an attorney at the patient advocacy group Disability Rights DC, told The Washington Post. She added that many older patients refuse to use the portable showers, which are inaccessible for wheelchair-bound patients.

Officials are still working to identify how the bacteria entered the hospital's water system.

As of Oct. 18, none of the facility's 273 patients or 700 employees had symptoms of Legionnaires' disease. The hospital continues to admit new patients.

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The psychiatric hospital shut off its water after the discovery of bacteria Sept. 26 and hired contractors to flush its water system with chlorine.

"After super chlorination of the water system, test results showed evidence of remaining bacteria," Wayne Turnage, the district's deputy mayor of health and human services, said in an Oct. 17 statement cited by The Washington Post.

The water is being treated again, though officials don't have an exact date for when the water will be potable. Officials did not respond to The Washington Post when asked how the bacteria survived treatment.

Patients and staff are currently using bottled water, hand sanitizer and portable showers. Dishwashers can't be used while the system is flushed, so outside contractors are bringing in food.

Some patients haven't showered in weeks, Andrea Procaccino, an attorney at the patient advocacy group Disability Rights DC, told The Washington Post. She added that many older patients refuse to use the portable showers, which are inaccessible for wheelchair-bound patients.

Officials are still working to identify how the bacteria entered the hospital's water system.

As of Oct. 18, none of the facility's 273 patients or 700 employees had symptoms of Legionnaires' disease. The hospital continues to admit new patients.

 

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