Midland hospital stays ahead and operational, despite flooding and sewage disruptions

MIDLAND (WJRT) (05/20/2020) - While thousands of people are evacuating their homes in Midland, one hospital is staying put.

Even with floodwaters taking over multiple sewer pump stations, MidMichigan Medical Center Midland is finding a workaround to keep staff members and patients safe.

MidMichigan Medical Center Midland practices emergency situations multiple times a year. When two dams breached, the water made its way onto the majority of the western most parking lot of the hospital. The water did manage to enter a part of one building, but there was some good news.

"There were no patients in that space at any time, and keeping everybody safe was our number one goal, and we successfully did that," Mike Erickson said. Erickson is the Vice President of Support Services.

It did, however, overtake five of the city's 41 sewer pump stations, including one serving the hospital, but there's a plan for that too.

"We know there's going to be some additional stress on the system, so we brought some porta potties actually for our staff to be able to use to reduce some of the stress on our systems and allow the patients and visitors to be able to utilize the normal restrooms," Erickson said.

A failing pump can create catastrophic issues for a hospital, but in this case, Erickson says it was not a total failure.

There is still safe, functioning drinking water for everybody and the ability to flush toilets. The plan for porta potties and sanitizing stations is to reduce the load off the system and avoid another tragedy.

Staff members are on board with that…

"I realize a porta potty is a porta potty, right? But again, the staff really isn't complaining about it. Healthcare people are very resilient. They really are. There's a lot of things they deal with, right? I think using a porta potty is probably one of the least of the worries some of those clinical people deal with on a daily basis, right?" Erickson said.

Instead, Erickson says it's the safety and well-being of the patients they're caring for. He spoke with the city, and the disruption with the sewer pump station will depend on the water level receding.

He expects things to operate normally within a few days, with a realistic timeline as soon as Memorial Day weekend.

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