It will take several months of work and renovation before the new emergency department at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton is ready to be opened for use.
The unit’s opening was delayed days before a scheduled open house event that would have given the community a first look at the facility when a failure in a fire suppression line in the unit released more than 12,000 gallons of water into the unit, flooding the new emergency department. The water damaged drywall, cabinets, flooring and some clinical equipment on the unit, all of which is being replaced.
“Anything that got wet is being replaced,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. “This building will be put back into the same exact condition that it was in before the incident occurred.”
The ruptured line triggered the facility’s fire alarm systems, and the Carrollton Fire Department responded within minutes. More than 60 Tanner employees from all areas of the organization worked side-by-side with personnel from the fire department until well into the night, clearing the area of water and debris, rescuing furniture and artwork and hustling clinical equipment out of harm’s way.
“The thing we keep coming back to is how fortunate we are that this has not impacted patient care,” said Howard. “The unit had not yet opened, and our current emergency department continues to run at full capacity. We wish this had not happened, but since it did, we are glad that it happened at such a time that it could not interfere with the daily operations of our hospital. The community continues to be well-served by Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.”
While not damaged in the flood, the 1,100-gallon freshwater aquarium and turtle habitat, donated by Carrollton Emergency Physicians, has been removed to allow crews to replace damaged Sheetrock and flooring without endangering the wildlife in the aquarium. Just Add Water, the Atlanta-based company contracted to install and maintain the aquarium, has removed the fish and turtles and is keeping them in tanks at the business until the aquarium can be reinstalled.
Time frames for completion of the renovation have not been finalized at this time, but it is anticipated that the work will require several months before the area can be used for patient care. The unit was originally slated to open for patient care on Sept. 6. Cost of the work is being covered by property insurance.
“We have contractors who specialize in this process, so we’re going to let them do what they need to do,” said Howard. “Our infection prevention team and engineering department will be engaged in ensuring that this unit is back up to our particular standards throughout the repair process. Otherwise, at Tanner, we’re going to continue focusing on delivering the best possible care to our patients and their loved ones.”
Portions of the new construction at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton not impacted by the flood are now open to serve patients and visitors, including Bistro ’49, the Lamplighter Gift Shop, several new operating suites, the expanded short stay unit and more. Plans are being made to open the new atrium on Clinic Avenue soon to make accessing these areas and the hospital’s surgical services unit easier for patients and visitors.
Tanner will continue to update the process on its Web site, www.tanner.org.