Hospital prepares for noisy drilling

Oneida Healthcare Center is preparing for an important -- and noisy -- step of its $18 million construction and renovation project. The first phase - the addition currently underway on the front of the hospital - will house new operating rooms and a new Intensive Care Unit.

On Saturday May 30 and Sunday May 31 construction crews will be digging an elevator shaft for the new area, which will result in significant noise as well as vibration within the hospital. The areas proximal to the work site will be affected.

"We've been told that noise levels will be significant in the immediate drilling area and lessen considerably farther away from the center," said the Center's CEO Gene Morreale. OSHA requires hearing protection for anything 85db and above. He said a hospital multidisciplinary team has been planning for several weeks and that "every necessary precaution is being taken to assure the safety and comfort of our patients, visitors and staff."

Those precautions include the somewhat unusual step of diverting certain patients to other area Emergency Departments during the two day period. Once the drilling begins, it can't be stopped. The operating rooms, being very close to the drilling area, will not be operational during these two days, meaning that patients requiring emergency surgery will need to be stabilized and transferred to another hospital.

Morreale emphasized that the Emergency Department will remain open during the entire period for anyone not requiring surgery. All other hospital and nursing home services, including Obstetrical care, will continue during this period.

"We want the community to know about this ahead of time so they can make informed decisions as to where they choose to go."

The Emergency Medical Service system will be notified and will be in a position to divert ambulance transports when that patient is a potential surgical case.

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