Victoria General leak forces heating system shutdown in north wing

The Nova Scotia Health Authority says a series of leaks from the hospital's hot water heating system in the north wing yesterday have forced the shut down of heaters as well as a partial-closure of a chemotherapy drug preparation area.

Leaks were first reported Tuesday and have closed a chemo drug preparation area on the sixth floor

The heating system in the Victoria General's north wing was shut down following a leak Tuesday. (Nova Scotia Health Authority)

Water leaks that started on Tuesday have created more headaches for staff at Halifax's Victoria General hospital.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority says a series of leaks from the hospital's hot water heating system in the north wing have forced the shutdown of heaters in patient rooms.

The leaks have damaged and led to the closure of a section of a chemotherapy drug preparation area on the sixth floor. 

It is just the latest problem to plague the aging complex. This fall, a pipe burst in the Centennial Building, severely damaging two floors.

Operations director Victoria Sullivan said the heating system leaks were first reported on Tuesday and originated on the sixth floor. When the water was shut off, heaters from the 11th floor down were affected. 

"I can't quantify it," Sullivan told CBC News. "But there were various reports of different levels of leaks. The most extensive leak was on the sixth floor." 

To compensate for any temperature change, staff have increased hot air flow through a duct system that runs through corridors and the hospital's central section. The hope, Sullivan said, is the hot air will enter rooms where heaters are shut off. 

Repair work on the heating system is expected to be completed by Thursday.

Sullivan said she's not heard any feedback about the temperature from patients.

"I think all efforts would have been made to make patients comfortable, and staff, as much as possible," she said. 

Drug preparation area

Sullivan said this week in January is always busy for chemotherapy treatment. Delays aren't unusual because of recent statutory holidays and an influx of patients who choose to put treatment off during that period. 

Given part of their work area is shut down, several staff in chemotherapy drug preparation section are being asked to work extended hours to make sure patients get what they need. 

"They worked very hard and did some overtime as well to try to minimize the delays resulting from this specific incident," she said. 

Sullivan said the leaks have caused minor delays. The director of pharmacy told her staff were able to complete all their drug preparations by 3:30 p.m. and turn the entire area over to those repairing damage from the leaks.

The repairs to this area may take a little longer than those to the heating system, Sullivan said. No other sections in the hospital were affected.

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