Los Alamos Medical Center Reopens After Mandatory Evacuation
On Monday June 27, 2011, the decision was made to evacuate Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) in light of the mandatory town wide evacuation due to the Las Conchas fire. The hospital safely transferred five patients to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Santa Fe, systematically shut down hospital departments and evacuated hospital personnel.
“While it is easy to shut down and close a hospital by turning off computers and locking the front doors, it is not so easy to reopen” says Curt Smith, Interim CEO of Los Alamos Medical Center.
On Saturday July 2nd the reopening efforts began. Around 50 hospital employees gathered Saturday to start cleaning and ensuring the hospital was ready to start seeing patients. A professional cleaning crew of 60 individuals from Belfor Property Restoration was also present to clean the duct work and ventilation system.
“The hospital employees and staff from Belfor really came together to make sure the hospital met the necessary standards to reopen. Once the cleaning was complete Secretary of Health, Dr. Catherine Torres inspected the hospital to ensure it met Department of Health criteria” explains Mr. Smith.
The hospital’s emergency room was officially reopened on Sunday July 3rd at 6:30am with the inpatient units reopening at 6:30pm that night.
“Since our emergency room reopened we have seen 40 patients in the emergency room and have admitted 7 patients to the floor. Our Labor and Delivery unit is up and running as well and welcomed a healthy newborn on Monday July 4th at 5:40pm” says Jim Wells, Chief Nursing Officer.
All services are reopened with the exception of the outpatient pharmacy which will reopen Wednesday July 6th at 9:00am.
“The outpatient pharmacy remains closed due to a significant loss of pharmaceuticals because the air temperature in the outpatient pharmacy went above the recommended storage temperature of the drugs” explains Mr. Smith. “The hospital has taken the necessary precaution of removing the effected drugs from its shelves and is waiting on the new shipments to arrive.”
“We are excited to be open again and caring for the Los Alamos community. After a week of empty streets and parking lots, it is nice to have the town back to life again” says Mr. Smith.