Lab work was temporarily diverted to St. Elizabeth Boardman


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital was on temporary diversion Sunday after the air-handling system shut down after coils froze, causing water to enter the lab area, damaging equipment.

The diversion, under which lab work was sent to other area Mercy Health hospitals – St. Elizabeth Boardman and St. Joseph Warren, was lifted Sunday afternoon after key laboratory equipment was repaired.

Work to restore the lab to its full operational capabilities continued late Sunday afternoon, but it was not known at that time when the work would be complete. The accident occurred about 5 a.m.

During the diversion, patients needing Level 1 trauma care were sent to the nearest hospital with a Level 1 trauma center because needed lab services were not available at St. Elizabeth, a hospital spokeswoman said.

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, which conducts testing integral to the diagnosis and treatment of traumas and medical emergencies such as heart attacks, 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.

“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,” said Donald E. Koenig Jr., president of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mercy Health - Youngstown.

During the diversion, St. Elizabeth Youngstown had temporarily relocated some testing and staffing to the laboratory at St. Elizabeth Boardman. As a consequence, turnaround time for lab testing may be delayed during the relocation, hospital officials said.

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