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Effects of Grady hospital flood, patient diversions now at emergency level
Grady Memorial Hospital
A worker wheels beds through the emergency department Jan. 24, 2014, at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has issued an emergency declaration because of capacity issues at Atlanta-area hospitals after a flooding incident last week at Grady Memorial Hospital, the state’s largest trauma center.

Grady started diverting patients to other hospitals on Dec. 7 because a burst water pipe flooded and damaged multiple floors of the Atlanta hospital. Partial diversions continued Friday as Kemp issued the emergency declaration.

“Due to increased patient load, other metropolitan Atlanta hospital systems are now at capacity and implementing or contemplating implementation of diversion protocols,” the declaration states.

The declaration allows state resources to be marshaled and used to combat the problem.

Grady hospital said in a statement that it began accepting “trauma, stroke, and burn patients only” Friday morning.

Trauma victims in the Hall County area are sometimes airlifted to Grady, which is a Level I trauma center. The Northeast Georgia Medical Center is a Level II trauma center. Level I offers the most comprehensive trauma care, from prevention through rehabilitation, and patients from lower level hospitals sometimes have to be transferred to Level I centers. Information about whether NGMC is otherwise affected was not immediately available.

“We continue to make great progress with repairs following the break of a 24-inch water pipe Saturday afternoon. Repairs to areas of the hospital impacted by the pipe break are ongoing,” according to the statement from Grady. A visitation restriction at the hospital has been lifted, and the hospital says it is no longer transferring patients because of the flooding.

The Times contributed to this report. 

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