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Evacuated Patients Returning to MeritCare

Yesterday, Wednesday, April 1, MeritCare began welcoming back the first of its 182 patients that were evacuated from the organization's two Fargo hospital locations in the early morning hours of Friday, March 27, due to patient safety concerns related to the flood. Dr. Bruce Pitts, executive vice president, clinical services, says, "While we were still caring for many patients during the flood crisis, our staff is so pleased to be getting back to business as usual."

Yesterday, Wednesday, April 1, MeritCare began welcoming back the first of its 182 patients that were evacuated from the organization's two Fargo hospital locations in the early morning hours of Friday, March 27, due to patient safety concerns related to the flood. Dr. Bruce Pitts, executive vice president, clinical services, says, "While we were still caring for many patients during the flood crisis, our staff is so pleased to be getting back to business as usual."

MeritCare made the decision to evacuate its patients for two main reasons: 1) The organization decided it was safer to evacuate patients under controlled circumstances, rather than in an emergency situation e.g. while the city was flooding and 2) MeritCare wanted to be prepared to care for the hundreds of people needing medical attention had there been a major failure of the dike system.

– Six evacuated patients were readmitted to MeritCare on April 1. More patients have been readmitted today; a number is not available at this time.

– The census at MeritCare's two Fargo hospital locations as of 2 p.m. today is 111 patients; the average census is 380 patients.

– MeritCare began accepting the transfer of patients from other facilities yesterday, April 1 (this is separate issue from the evacuation), and also began doing elective surgeries.

– MeritCare began admitting patients to its Fargo hospital locations from its emergency center on a limited basis on Monday, March 31.

– MeritCare has been working with each patient who was evacuated, their families and medical staff at the hospitals caring for them, to coordinate their safe return to MeritCare, or to the area. It's expected that the majority of the patients evacuated will be transferred back to MeritCare. Some patients that were evacuated from MeritCare to other facilities have been discharged from those facilities. Some patients will not be transferred back to MeritCare and will complete the length of their stay where they are currently hospitalized, the main reason being that patients are nearing the end of their hospitalization.

– Most of the evacuated patients were transferred to 23 hospitals in the region (some were discharged to go home, etc.).

– The majority of patients are returning by ambulance; others are being transported by MeritCare LifeFlight's fixed-wing aircraft and other specially equipped vans. MeritCare and/or F-M Ambulance staff are accompanying patients.