Saturday, July 20, 2024

At GIMC, medical professionals say hospital not safe

By Donovan Quintero
Special to the Times

GALLUP – Politics aside, that has prevented a new Gallup Indian Medical Center from finding a new home at a new location. Medical professionals who’ve been providing professional health care to Navajo patients believe the Indian Health Service facility isn’t safe.

A trio of medical professionals who do not want to be identified for fear of retaliation have become concerned over the increased breakdowns Gallup Indian Medical Center has been experiencing.

According to a June 8 IHS public service announcement, the most recent breakdown, GIMC, as commonly known, had the chilling cooling tower that went offline, disrupting hospital services. The facility’s maintenance department worked “expeditiously with a third-party vendor to assist with the repair,” the statement read. The breakdown affected the north and south laboratories, the operating room, the east emergency department annex, the outpatient pharmacy, the ground floor server room, and the dietary department.

“It just feels like that things may have accelerated in the last couple of years,” a GIMC medical professional said, who did not want to be identified. “We perpetually have issues with plumbing, leaking into the operating rooms, leaking into various parts of the hospital, like the ICU.”

The health care professional and two other professionals shared their experiences with the Navajo Times.

Major work on plumbing

The GIMC staff was told the hospital’s maintenance department would be conducting major work on its plumbing because of constant breakdowns. After it was repaired, the staff was told not to use the water because it needed to be tested.

An April 23 GIMC press release stated repairs to the hospital’s water system in the main hospital building would begin May 3.

“We will not have water services for the duration of the repairs; therefore, all inpatient services will be closed, and current patients will be transferred out to neighboring hospitals to allow for continuation of care,” the press release stated.

During the repair work on the hospital’s water system, labor and delivery, emergency, trauma, outpatient pharmacy, and other departments would be available with limited water use.

“Current and future inpatient admissions will be relocated as needed to nearby facilities. We encourage patients to use other IHS hospitals and service units for non-emergent issues from now until we return to normal services,” the statement read. “We anticipate that repairs will take up to 24 hours, and services will be restored as soon as possible. However, we are preparing for the likelihood that this could be prolonged due to the age of our facility and water system.”

Read the full story in the June 13, edition of the Navajo Times.


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