Emergency room at hospital expected to reopen today


The emergency room at Carroll County General Hospital, flooded Sunday during a heavy rainstorm, was expected to reopen today, according to hospital officials.

Patients in need of emergency medical attention yesterday were sent 50 feet down the hall to the hospital's ambulatory surgery center, where the emergency room staff was temporarily located.

The flooding came during a downpour that dumped 3.58 inches of rain on Westminster in about three hours Sunday afternoon. Water leaked through the emergency room ceiling, turning the room into a wading pool several inches deep.

Some ambulances were sent on to other hospitals.

The expectation of reopening the unit today suggested that damage was not as bad as officials originally thought. Joan Hoff, the emergency room's clinical manager, said Sunday that it might be a week before the flooded area could be used again.

Dr. Michael Stang, the hospital's director of emergency medicine since 1986, said yesterday that radiology equipment in the emergency room will not be repaired for several more days. In the meantime, emergency X-rays will be performed in other areas of the hospital, he said.

Carroll County General officials summoned off-duty staffers to the emergency room Sunday and yesterday to help with the cleanup. Dr. Stang said he counted at least a dozen workers drying equipment and floors.

At 2:40 p.m. yesterday, the regular entrance to the emergency room -- which had sustained some flood damage -- reopened. But patients still were ushered into the ambulatory surgery center, officials said.

"The care has not been affected appreciably," Dr. Stang said. "It probably takes less than 30 seconds more transport time to get them back to [the ambulatory surgery unit]."

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