Madison Hospital operates without water - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Madison Hospital operates without clean water

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Progress in Madison.

Families can now use tap water for almost everything, except drinking or brushing teeth.

Running a hospital in a blizzard is difficult enough, but caring for patients without clean water is a real challenge and calls for some creative solutions.

Hand sanitizer is not a great substitute for water.

You can't drink it, but you can use it to wash your hands.

And for the Madison Hospital, hand sanitizer and bottled water are both in high demand.

A lack of water at the Madison Hospital calls for an emergency operations plan.

Madison Hospital CEO Tammy Miller said "we did contact patients and cancel elective surgeries, the only surgeries that we are doing are emergency surgeries."

And doctors and nurses will have find ways of working without clean water.

"We have not been able to do any patient baths and so we have to find strategic ways to make sure that patients get cleaned up in the morning," Miller said.

The staff is taking a hands on, hands off approach to water conservation.

"We're only flushing toilets when absolutely necessary. We're using hand sanitizers instead of hand washing if we have to do hand washing, we're using boiled water but we're trying to conserve on the amount of water that we're pulling from the water tower too," Miller said.

"Not being able to wash hands which is just essential in hospitals and having to use the hand sanitizer as really the main method of hand washing, those things are all challenges," Miller added.

The weather adds another challenge for the hospital as doctors and nurses fight the blizzard to get to work.

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