St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital lab back open after weather-related diversion today


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital was on temporary diversion today after the air handling system in its laboratory shut down and enabled water to enter the facility. The incident occurred at approximately 5 a.m.

The diversion was lifted this afternoon after key laboratory equipment was repaired and work continues to restore the lab to full operational capabilities.

The weather-related system shutdown in the lab did not impact technology or structures in any other part of the hospital.

The shutdown was caused by coils within the air handling system that froze as a result of the extreme temperatures. Water pumped through the damaged coils and entered the laboratory, damaging key equipment. The laboratory is the primary site for a variety of diagnostic and specimen testing for Mercy Health’s three Mahoning Valley hospitals: St. Elizabeth Youngstown , St. Elizabeth Boardman and St. Joseph Warren hospitals.

Because the laboratory conducts chemistry, immunochemistry and automating chemistry testing integral to the timely diagnosis and treatment of traumas and medical emergencies such as heart attacks, the hospital will remain on diversion until laboratory services have been completely assumed by other sites or laboratory operations at SEYH have been restored.

Donald E. Koenig, Jr., president of SEYH and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mercy Health - Youngstown, said the hospital immediately mobilized its disaster team and has been working with other Mercy Health - Youngstown hospitals, as well as partners and vendors to activate contingency plans.

“Mercy Health - Youngstown has response and contingency plans in place for these types of situations to minimize disruption to our operations and, ultimately, our patients,” Koenig said. “Our command center has been active since shortly after the incident and our team is working to restore operations as quickly as possible.”

SEYH had temporarily relocated some testing and staffing to the laboratory at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital. Turn-around time for lab testing may be delayed during the relocation. As part of Mercy Health, Ohio’s largest health system, the hospital also has access to other system resources throughout the state and will leverage those resources as needed. SEYH is also working with its technology vendors to schedule equipment repairs or replacements as quickly as possible.

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