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Hospital helps Schneck after power outage, sees no major patient influx

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Columbus Regional Hospital is assisting Schneck Medical Center after a power outage left the Jackson County hospital operating on generator power.

Stephanie Furlow, director of marketing for the medical center, said the hospital expected to have power restored by midnight Tuesday.

During the outage, Furlow said the Seymour hospital’s emergency department operated on diversion to area hospitals.

“The ambulance will take the patient to the closest hospital or the hospital they request,” Furlow said. “Some of those will go to Columbus Regional, but they will also go to other area hospitals depending on where they are located.”

Emergency walk-in patients have been accepted at Schneck Medical Center throughout the power outage.

Kelsey DeClue, public relations specialist for Columbus Regional Health, said that by midafternoon Tuesday the hospital had seen about six patients who were referred from Schneck Medical Center.

“There has not been a huge influx or any serious trauma cases, but we have called in extra staff just to be prepared,” DeClue said. “There is no way to tell just how many patients we might see. But we are at full staff, just to be ready.”

Columbus Regional Hospital also scheduled an on-call ambulance crew to be available, as needed, to assist with transports.

DeClue said the concept of health systems working together in times of need for the good of the community is a longstanding practice. She pointed to the assistance Columbus received from other area hospitals during the 2008 flood.

Columbus Regional Hospital closed for nearly five months after the June 7, 2008, flood, which led to evacuation of 157 patients and more than 300 physicians, nurses and other workers.

Schneck Medical Center was among those that stepped in to accept Columbus Regional Hospital patients until the Columbus facility could be cleaned, renovated or repaired.

Jim Bickel, president and chief executive officer of Columbus Regional Health, said the hospital welcomed the opportunity to assist Schneck Medical Center in its time of need.

“We certainly understand the value of such support when emergencies happen in (a) facility,” Bickel said. “We are glad to serve as a good neighbor to Schneck, especially since their support was critical during the summer of 2008 for our emergency needs.”

Some procedures at Schneck Medical Center, including surgeries, some outpatient procedures and appointments at the Schneck Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and Schneck Obstetrics & Gynecology, were postponed during the outage.

Outpatient appointments with the Pain Center, Infusion Center, Cancer Center and Rehabilitation were unaffected; and women in labor continued to be accepted in the Family Life Center.

Furlow said the outage was not related to weekend flooding at the hospital that damaged a seating area in the cafeteria and seeped down to the patient lobby.

Repairs from the flooding are expected to take about four to six weeks to complete but will not affect patient services, Furlow said.

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