Accident causes flood damage at UT Health Center

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Parts of the inpatient tower at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler were flooded Saturday afternoon after a patient accidentally pulled a pipe from a wall on the fifth floor, said UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun.

The patient, who was in the bathroom, grabbed the pipe, which was connected to the toilet’s flush valve. The pipe came out of the wall, and water from the pipe flooded the patient’s room and the east end of the main patient floor, Dr. Calhoun said. The patient was not injured in the accident, which occurred about 3 p.m.

The water also made its way into a vertical utility shaft that cuts through the floors in the patient tower, and the shaft acted as a conduit for the water, he said.

The emergency room and a few other areas of the first floor were flooded, Dr. Calhoun said. Water affected a couple of patient rooms in the intensive care unit on the first floor, so the patients were moved to other rooms in the ICU. Minor damage from flooding also occurred on the fourth, third, and second floors of the patient tower.

Eighteen patients were moved from the flooded areas on the fifth floor to other rooms on the fifth and sixth floors of the patient tower, he said. These were the only patients who were affected by the flood. Although the water was cut off for about an hour and a half, it did not affect patient care.

“The Health Center is still functioning. The emergency room has been placed on diversion for the time being. Any patients that come to the ER will be transported to other area hospitals,” Dr. Calhoun said.

“A major cleanup is under way. Two disaster recovery companies have been called in, Servicemaster and Steamatic. We expect to return to normal operations in a couple of days,” he said.

“I want to stress that all Health Center patients are safe and are receiving excellent care despite this unfortunate incident,” Dr. Calhoun said.

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