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Shreveport-area hospitals dealing with low water pressure following water main breaks

Deborah Bayliss
Shreveport Times

Local hospitals were not spared the impact of storm-related water main blowouts that left the Shreveport-Bossier area with little or no water pressure.

The Shreveport Fire Department and other sources are stepping in to help local hospitals get the much-needed water to maintain their operations during the winter storm.

City fire trucks reportedly are transporting water to Willis Knighton North and South, Ochsner LSU Health Medical Center, and St. Mary Medical Center in an effort to keep their boilers going in order to heat the hospitals.

The water is also being used for other necessary functions at the hospital.

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A statement from Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Wednesday morning reads, “Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport is experiencing water pressure issues consistent with the rest of the city. Patient care remains our highest priority as we continue to ensure stabilization of resources during this time where our entire area is facing extreme conditions.”  

The statement continued, “At this time, both Ochsner LSU Health hospitals in Shreveport, on Kings Highway and the St. Mary Medical Center, have limited city water. As a result, we are practicing mitigation measures to conserve water and heat. We are working with multiple sources to continue providing trucks of potable and non-potable water, as well as ensuring we have several days of bottled water on hand for our staff and patients.”

Earlier this week, Ochsner staff remained on-site to ensure continued care despite transportation barriers, according to the statement.

“Last night, approximately 170 of our patient care team stayed overnight at our hospitals. At Ochsner LSU Health, we continue to accept patients who present for emergency services at our hospital on Kings Highway and pregnant patients at our St. Mary Medical Center.”

St. Mary Medical Center does not have emergency services.

WK Bossier Health Center is also dealing with low water pressure, according to Pam Glorioso, Bossier City's chief administrative officer.

"The pressure is low, but there is available water for normal operations," Glorioso said via text message.

LSU Health Shreveport spokesperson Lisa Babin stated, “ LSU Health Shreveport is experiencing water pressure issues. The current water pressure is too low to support the boilers which provide heat to the School of Medicine and Administration Buildings.  Continued monitoring of this situation will determine when employees and students will return to campus. The LSU Health Shreveport campus will be closed again on Thursday with a decision regarding whether it will reopen on Friday occurring by mid-afternoon on Thursday.“   

Dr. Steen Trawick, CEO/CMO CHRISTUS Shreveport shared during a Wednesday afternoon virtual press conference, the status of things at the hospital.

“The water issue has been the same for us as pretty much everyone else in Shreveport,” Trawick said. “That low water pressure has been quite concerning as well as the boil order we are now under. That affects everything from flushing toilets to humidity in our operating rooms to dialysis. It’s a big deal.”

Planning ahead of the storm to make sure portable drinking water was available for associates and patients helped, Trawick added.

“The No. 1 thing we want is our patients don’t really know what is going on on the outside,” Trawick said. “We want them to be cared for just as normally as they would be in a hospital…Everybody is upbeat and very grateful for what we do have and the preparations that were made by all of the leadership and the team here…We have had over 70 associates to stay at the hospital to make sure they are here for their next shift.”

Trawick said the best estimate they have for when things will get back to normal is when things thaw out.

“All of us at the health systems are very concerned because once things thaw out we feel there is still probably going to be some critical issues. The breaks that will be discovered. We are preparing for longer than just Friday or Saturday. The mayor (Adrian Perkins) at this time had no estimate on when we would get back to normal on the water issue.”

 A petition was made to the Louisiana Department of Health and the governor’s office Wednesday asking for an emergency order to get water here.

“They are diligently working on that now,” Trawick said. “We need both potable and non-potable to do the things we need to do as a hospital. Roads are treacherous right now and that’s a problem. But the good news is they tell us they will be ready to go as soon as the roads are passable...The local fire department has been extremely helpful to get water to the local hospitals to make sure they have what they need.”

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