Clogged sewer line compounds problems at Mississippi hospital

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — A clogged sewer line has compounded problems for a Mississippi hospital that was already dealing with financial difficulties.

The clog at Greenwood Leflore Hospital was cleared by Tuesday, but the hospital remained mostly empty for a second consecutive day as workers checked to ensure the building was clear of potentially harmful gases, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

The hospital’s interim CEO, Gary Marchand, said employees began smelling a foul odor Friday, and the hospital tried to trace it before the situation reached a crisis Monday.

The hospital shut all but the emergency room on Monday. It canceled surgeries and outpatient procedures scheduled by the clinics within the 208-bed facility.

About 20 patients, including some in intensive care, were transferred by ambulance to medical facilities in Jackson, Grenada, Indianola, Greenville, Cleveland, Columbus and Oxford in Mississippi and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

The superintendent of Greenwood’s wastewater treatment department, Eddie Payne, said the clog was caused by an accumulation of grease and rags that had been flushed into the hospital’s piping.

Before the hospital can reopen, it must be cleared by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

The loss of patient revenue from the shutdown could compound the financial difficulties of the hospital, which is seeking bids on a long-term lease because it is running out of cash to operate. For the first 10 months of this fiscal year, the hospital has lost $12.7 million, even after using $9.2 million in mostly federal coronavirus relief grants.

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