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Quick Action Saves X-Rays

Patsy Dellis thought she was standing in a horrendous rainstorm. That is how the imaging services director at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital in Rocky Mount, Va., describes her experience after a water line burst one floor above the file storage area where she works.



Patsy Dellis thought she was standing in a horrendous rainstorm.

That is how the imaging services director at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital in Rocky Mount, Va., describes her experience after a water line burst one floor above the file storage area where she works. The burst caused hundreds of gallons of water to gush into the room, saturating nearly 800,000 X-ray images.

Maintenance personnel were repairing a feed to a toilet in a restroom one floor above where the X-rays are stored when the incident occurred at the 37-bed, not-for-profit hospital.

“It was a terrific mess,” Dellis says. “The water was ankle deep, running out the door, and spreading up and down the hallway.”

As water poured into the room, Dellis tried to limit X-ray damage by placing plastic sheets on top of the moveable shelves in the 900-square-foot space. Water cascaded continuously for 10 minutes before workers could shut off the main water supply. Janis Fugel, director of financial risk management for Carilion Hospitals, had to salvage as many documents as possible, so she called the facility’s insurance company. The company recommended the hospital contact Munters’ Moisture Control Services (MCS).

Bill Jacobsen, Carilion Franklin Memorial’s vice president and hospital administrator, asked Al Halleck, MCS national account manager, to develop a restoration plan. Halleck instructed the hospital staff to lower the temperature in the file room as much as possible to minimize the damage and prepare for MCS’s arrival.

MCS personnel arrived the following morning with two refrigerated-freezer trucks, a large desiccant dehumidifier, and several air blowers. Dan Kaidel, MCS district manager, accessed the damage onsite and coordinated the restoration work.

“The success of the project can be attributed to how well Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital staff and Munters personnel worked together,” Kaidel says. “We were given complete support and access to anything needed to keep progress moving.”

One step in the recovery effort consisted of loading all the X-rays into boxes and then placing them in the refrigerated trucks for shipment to MCS’s largest document drying center in Glendale Heights, Ill.

“Though some of the X-rays weren’t hit by water, many drew moisture from the ones that were totally soaked,” Halleck says. “Once frozen, the boxes could be held long-term without additional damage until individually processed for recovery.”

In addition to X-ray relocation, workers placed an MCS dehumidifier in the hallway outside the file room to remove moisture from affected walls, floors, and ceilings. The dehumidifier also included a deodorizer to eliminate odors. Munters personnel also helped with cleanup efforts, which included removing the room’s water-damaged floor.

MCS personnel hand dried and cleaned all of the hospital’s X-rays. The company has extensive experience restoring water-damaged materials, including books, office files, film, photographs, and architectural renderings.

The first step in the process was removing the X-rays from the freezer and running them through a cleaning solution. Then workers rinsed the documents in tap water before hanging them to dry. After desiccant equipment dried the images, workers inspected them for cleanliness, assembled them into new boxes, relabeled them according to the inventory, and reboxed and delivered them to the hospital.

As X-rays were restored, MCS shipped them back to the hospital file room. In situations where Dellis needed to supply an X-ray for a patient, MCS processed them immediately and shipped them for next-day arrival.

“Munters provided me with a contact number if there was a situation where I needed an X-ray urgently, and I always received them on time,” Dellis says.


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