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Hospital water line break needs further fixing

The repair job on a water line break in the basement of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital last month requires fixing.

The break occurred June 23 under the concrete slab in the basement, affecting three offices, a mechanical room and the medical device reprocessing department, which cleans and sterilizes surgical instruments.

Workers had to cut up the floor, as the pipe was plugged with gravel due to the rupture, and while new concrete was poured the next day, health officials discovered the floor is now uneven and will need to be redone, said Anya Nimmon, Vancouver Island Health Authority spokeswoman.

"I don't know the details as to why that happened," she said.

Unfortunately, the floor affected is in the medical device reprocessing department, where it is essential the floor is seamless so that there are no opportunities for moisture to enter. This means redoing the entire floor, not just where the hole was made.

"The department has to be completely clean – no cracks," said Nimmon.

The department has two areas: the decontamination room where surgical equipment is cleaned, which has the uneven floor, and the sterilization room.

Nimmon said for now, surgical instruments are taken to West Coast General Hospital or Cowichan District Hospital to be decontaminated, then returned to NRGH for sterilization.

The impact on the surgical program at NRGH is expected to be minimal, as only five of the eight surgical rooms operate during the summer.

"Fortunately, it is summer and there isn't the volume of surgery that we normally have," said Nimmon.

The health authority began dismantling the equipment Thursday so the floor can be redone and it is expected to take six to eight weeks, she said.

On top of the concrete floor repouring, workers will also repair walls in adjacent offices that were damaged by water, Nimmon added.

Health officials do not know the final cost, but repairs will be covered by insurance.

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