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Elective Surgeries Halted after Pipe Bursts at Brigham and Women’s

Update Date: Jan 08, 2014 09:42 AM EST

The polar vortex, which brought record low temperatures across the United States, has been affecting thousands of lives. The cold temperatures have stranded travelers as airports cancel flight after flight. Now, the freezing weather has started to affect hospitals as water pipes burst. At Brigham and Women's Hospital in Massachusetts, some patients had to be relocated while other patients scheduled for elective surgeries will have to wait a bit longer after their appointments were postponed all due to a pipe burst.

According to the French Tribune, the latest reports state that the pipe burst has caused flooding in several floors. The water pipe burst at around 6 a.m. and occurred on the sixth-floor of the hospital's inpatient building. The sixth-floor is where cancer patients get treated. The water leaked to the floors below where the surgical recovery rooms are located. The hospital kept the emergency department open during the accident since it was not affected. During the meantime, however, incoming ambulances were redirected to other hospitals nearby until 2 p.m.

"We have 793 beds and relocated 30 of those inpatients because of the flooding," said Erin McDonough, spokesperson for Brigham & Women's Hospital according to the Boston Herald. "It was cold in the area where the pipe was housed, so we assume that it's the extreme cold [that caused the leak]."

The patients were relocated as soon as possible. Roughly half of the elective surgeries set for Wednesday were rescheduled. After the hospital contacted officials, crews have already been called to assess the extent of the damage. Even though the water is clean, all items that have been soaked in the leak will need to be removed in order to prevent mold buildup.

"Everyone really wants to see how it goes," McDonough said. "The goal is to get as many cases on as scheduled, as long as we can do so safely."

The hospital stated people could contact the facility's Patient and Family Relations office at (617) 732 - 6636 for more information. Brigham and Women's Hospital was not the only hospital affected by a pipe burst. In Washington D.C., George Washington University Hospital experienced flooding on the fourth and sixth floors. At 11:30 a.m., 23 patients had to be relocated. In Cleveland, OH, a water pipe burst at St. Vincent Charity Hospital yesterday.

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