EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Army officials confirm to KTSM that trauma cases and elective surgeries are on pause as the installation work to determine the source of debris found in William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) water.
According to a press release, the WBACMC Hospital Commander declared hospital water not safe for drinking and not safe for sterile procedures.
A fallout from unsafe drinking water has resulted in WBAMC staff diverting trauma cases to other area hospitals, postponing elective surgeries, and sterilizing all equipment in a separate off-site facility, according to a press release from WBAMC.
They added that bottled water is being provided to patients and staff for drinking and other uses.
On March 25, according to officials, staff members in one department of WBAMC identified debris in their water. WBAMC said they took immediate action to test the water, determine the source of the debris, and mitigate any risk associated with the water.
At the time, all indicators suggested the water quality issue was isolated to a single hospital department, according to a press release.
WBAMC officials say, on April 6, after additional hospital-wide testing, hospital staff identified evidence of discoloration and sediment in the water in additional hospital departments. WBAMC says they are currently testing to assess the water quality in all hospital areas to determine the root cause of any discoloration and sediment.
According to the press release, after multiple tests of the external water supply feeding the hospital, the Fort Bliss Department of Public Works (DPW) confirmed that water coming from the City of El Paso is not at issue.
Hospital officials suspect the root cause of the discoloration and sediment lies within the hospital’s internal plumbing.
The WBAMC Environmental Health Team tested the water within the hospital facility and confirmed no pathogenic or biological concerns. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Hospital Commander declared the hospital water not safe for drinking and not safe for sterile procedures. WBAMC continues operations in a limited fashion, diverting trauma cases to other area hospitals, postponing elective surgeries, and sterilizing all equipment in a separate off-site facility. WBAMC is providing bottled water to patients and staff for drinking and other uses.News release from WBAMC
Officials with WBAMC and Fort Bliss added that they are are in active coordination with Defense Health Agency (DHA), Army Installation Management Control (IMCOM), U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify and correct the root cause of this water quality issue.
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