Overflowing toilet closes Misericordia emergency room in west Edmonton
Patients urged to seek emergency care at other area hospitals until Wednesday morning
An overflowing toilet has forced the closure of the emergency room at the west-end Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton until at least Wednesday morning.
"This is just an incident that occurred where a toilet overflowed, and it could happen anywhere, including in our homes," Janet Schimpf, senior operating officer for the Misericordia, told reporters Monday.
The incident happened Sunday, with water coming from the toilet and from a pressure line. Staff quickly shut off the water and the resulting flooding was described as "floor-level."
The hospital has hired crews to undertake an "aggressive drying" of the dirty water, she said.
"We know that drying needs to occur in 48 hours," Schimpf said.
People seeking emergency care are urged to go to any of the five other hospital emergency rooms in the Edmonton area. Some emergency room staff will be kept in place at the Misericordia in the event of walk-in patients who are not aware of the closure, the news release said.
Schimpf said they will be assessed and either treated or moved to another facility.
Those who were already in the Misericordia ER at the time is was closed are "safe and well cared for," and have been either admitted to the hospital, at 16940 87th Ave., or moved to others in the region.
Schimpf said 16 patients were in the emergency room on Monday morning, and most were accommodated "within our site."
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Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals, which have been provided with bolstered resources to accommodate increased demand as a result of the Misericordia shutdown, said the release.
The other five Edmonton-area emergency rooms are:
- University of Alberta Hospital, 8440 112th St.
- Royal Alexandra Hospital, 10240 Kingsway
- Grey Nuns Community Hospital, 1100 Youville Dr.
- Sturgeon Community Hospital, 201 Boudreau Rd., St. Albert
- Strathcona Community Hospital, 9000 Emerald Dr., Sherwood Park
There was no effect on elective or other surgeries, according to Dr. Robert Black, medical director at the Misericordia and chief medical officer of Covenant Health.
The aging Misericordia emergency room is set to be replaced. A new emergency room, costing $65 million and expected to be three times as large as the current one, was recently announced. Construction work is slated to begin next spring, with opening of the new addition set for the spring of 2023.
The new emergency department, first announced in the 2017 provincial budget, will be built on the west side of the hospital at 170th Street and 87th Avenue.
The hospital had a major flood in May 2013, when the hospital had to cancel 46 elective surgeries and move 53 patients after a valve ruptured while a toilet was being repaired.
There were several smaller flooding incidents in 2014.
Black acknowledged that shutting down the Misericordia emergency room, which sees about 120 to 140 patients per day, puts significant strain on other emergency rooms in the region.
"Volumes have been very high for a long period of time," he said. "We have not seen the usual decrease in volumes for our emergency department for the summer months, as we usually do.
"So we know there are pressures throughout the zones with regards to all emergency departments including all aspects of emergency care and mental health issues. It is a strain and we understand that."