White Coat Notes

Elective surgeries canceled, patients moved after flooding at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

A water pipe began leaking Tuesday morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, causing flooding and requiring the hospital to cancel elective surgeries and move about 30 patients on six floors of the main inpatient building of the hospital, hospital officials said.

“It’s just a measure of precaution,” said hospital spokeswoman Erin McDonough.

At approximately 6 a.m., a pipe burst on the sixth floor of the building, flooding that floor, which is where cancer patients are treated, and collecting several floors below in surgical recovery rooms. McDonough said the pipe ran along an exterior wall, and extreme temperatures likely were to blame.

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The hospital diverted ambulances to other hospitals until about 2 p.m. Crews were called in to clean and assess the damage. The water was clean, but anything soaked in the leak must be removed to avoid mold, McDonough said.

About half of elective surgeries scheduled for Wednesday also were postponed, McDonough said. Affected patients had been notified as of Tuesday afternoon. Alternate recovery areas were set up elsewhere in the hospital. It was not clear whether the clean-up will affect surgeries scheduled later this week.

“Everyone really wants to see how it goes,” McDonough said. “The goal is to get as many cases on as scheduled, as long as we can do so safely.”

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