On Friday, a decision was made to suspend inpatient services due to the lingering bats. This followed a period of extensive efforts by Get Bats Out, a professional bat removal service, and a consultation with TJC (The Joint Commission), an independent organization that accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs.
On Friday night, 14 inpatients were removed from the hospital and transferred by FirstHealth EMS staff to other hospitals in the region.
"With the support of The Joint Commission and the Richmond County Health Department, FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital staff and the bat removal company continue to work around the clock to assure the final removal of the bat colony that has taken up residence at the hospital," Kelly said Saturday afternoon.
"The bat situation currently does not prevent the hospital from resuming services in labor and delivery, Intensive Care and the outpatient departments, but as a precautionary measure while work continues in other areas of the hospital, FirstHealth will continue to suspend all services except for those patients who present in the Emergency Department." said Kelly.
Patients with scheduled appointments on Monday and Tuesday will be offered the option to go to Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst or reschedule at Richmond Memorial for a later date.
Kelly said hospital administration will reassess the situation on Sunday afternoon, in consultation with the bat removal company. Following that assessment, the hospital will provide another update on the situation to patients and staff.
FirstHealth reports that there is no health danger, despite the removal of patients.
“The Richmond County Department of Public Health conducted a thorough inspection of the facility yesterday … it is the determination of the health department that FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital does not pose a risk to their staff or the patients they serve,” said FirstHealth in a statement released Saturday morning.
FirstHealth administration and medical staff coordinated patient transfers to other hospitals.
The Rockingham hospital’s emergency department is continuing to provide services to patients who present themselves, but patients being transported by ambulances are being taken directly to other hospitals. While the hospital will continue to provide diagnostic services necessary to support patients in the emergency department, scheduled outpatient diagnostic procedures will be postponed or re-scheduled at other area hospitals, Kelly said.
Some of the hospital employees scheduled to work today and Sunday in areas of Richmond Memorial temporarily closed are being offered the opportunity to work at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, in Pinehurst.
Hospital officials stated that their primary concern is for “the safety and well-being of our patients, families, visitors, and employees. We are making every effort to accommodate all those affected by this event.”
It is not yet known when inpatient care services will resume.
Richmond Memorial Hospital, a division of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, is located at 925 Long Drive, Rockingham.
A 99-bed community hospital, Richmond Memorial serves the emergency, inpatient, outpatient and acute-care needs of the people of Richmond County and the surrounding area. The hospital first opened in 1952 and was originally certified for 50 beds.
Richmond Memorial offers medical and surgical hospital services as well as unique specialized services including a Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center specializing in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, thermal burns, crush injuries, pressure ulcers and other non-healing wounds.
The hospital joined the FirstHealth of the Carolinas family on March 1, 2001, and became a division of Moore Regional Hospital in August 2009.