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Grady County Hospital Forced To Suspend Surgeries

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After a surprise inspection from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, The Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha was forced to close the doors to its operating rooms. After a surprise inspection from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, The Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha was forced to close the doors to its operating rooms.
CHICKASHA, Oklahoma -

After a surprise inspection from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, The Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha was forced to close the doors to its operating rooms Tuesday, potentially moving dozens of patients to other hospitals and forcing costly repairs.

Officials from CMS said there were environmental issues inside the hospital but the real culprit was a faulty air handling system, according to the hospital CEO, Kean Spellman. Spellman said the system was supposed to help keep humidity down in the hospital’s central sterilization room. The room is used to sterilize medical tools and supplies for surgeries.

The hospital tried to use portable dehumidifiers to lower humidity in the room, but was told by health officials that didn’t meet standards and instead was forced to remove the machines. In the most recent inspection, Oklahoma State Department of Health officials said the humidity levels were too high, forcing the hospital to stop surgeries for the next four to six weeks.

“[In] higher levels of humidity organisms can grow. So it just gives it a better opportunity to grow,” Spellman said.

Grady Memorial is no stranger to CMS inspections. In 2012, an inspection revealed "the infection control program didn’t monitor surgery and central sterile practices," among other substandard practices. But the most recent Consumer Report on hospitals gave Grady a better than average rating.

All surgeries have been stopped including any baby deliveries and emergencies. Patients will have to be transported to other hospitals, sometimes as far as 40 minutes away. Hospital officials said operations in trauma centers, the intensive care unit and general admission will not be affected by the shut down.

“It is a frustration for our physicians when we haven't had any negative outcome issues to speak of, then we have to go to such drastic action instead of having a planned approach,” Spellman said. “But, we understand. We have to follow the rules.”

Spellman thinks the repairs could cost upwards of $170,000 something that could hurt the already cash strapped rural hospital. 

News9 did reach out to the state health department but they said they couldn't comment on the inspection report until it was approved by CMS.

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