July 26, 2014 5:45 pm

Leaks at Misericordia Hospital not affecting patient care: Covenant Health

Edmonton's Misericordia Hospital in May 2013.

EDMONTON – Heavy rainfall that fell over the Edmonton-area for much of the day Friday has caused troubles for the city’s aging Misericordia Hospital.

The hospital’s senior operating officer says the facility is dealing with leaks and seepage from the rain and strong northwest winds.

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“During heavy rains, particularly from this direction, the facility has in the past experienced some leakage and seepage. Today the weather has been relentless and we have seen more problems than usual,” Jan Schimpf said in an emailed statement.

“The leakage and seepage appears to be coming in through window seals and structural slabs.”

Covenant Health’s chief quality and privacy officer says the leakage “was not that significant” and apart from having to move one patient to another room, no patients or procedures were impacted.

“Patient care wasn’t compromised at all. We didn’t lose capacity. It’s business as usual.” Jon Popowich said Saturday.

This is the second time in just three weeks the facility has been left to clean up after heavy rainfall. Earlier this month, intense rain caused flooding in some of the hospital’s surgical areas, forcing select surgeries and procedures to be rescheduled.

READ MORE: Surgeries, procedures delayed at Misericordia Hospital due to flooding

A flood in May 2013 forced more than 50 patients and about 160 staff to be transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

In February, the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, Raj Sherman, called the conditions “third-world.”

READ MORE: Alberta’s Liberal leader sounding alarm over conditions at Misericordia Hospital

The PC government has been under fire for the state of the 45-year-old building. After the flooding earlier this month, NDP health critic David Eggen said the ongoing issues at the Misericordia compromise the integrity of public health delivery in Edmonton.

Health Minister Fred Horne has said nearly $20 million has been committed to bringing the hospital up to par, but adds more needs to be done.

“We’re growing at an alarming rate in Edmonton, we’re happy to see the growth, but obviously we need a health care capacity to go along with it. So, replacement of the Mis? Absolutely. We have to replace the capacity here, but we need more than that, we need additional capacity, as well,” Horne said July 6.

Because of flooding earlier this month, a restoration company was already on site. Schimpf says crews have already started working on the affected areas.

“We are working through the weekend to make sure that we dry all the affected areas and that they’re all up to standard,” added Popowich.

Hospital officials are also working with Infection Prevention Control and Occupational Health and Safety to ensure patient and staff safety.

*Editor’s note: This story was originally published at 9:06 p.m. MT Friday, July 25, 2014. It was updated at 3:45 p.m. MT Saturday to include comments from Covenant Health. 

© Shaw Media, 2014

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