Hsu J, Del Rosario MC, Thomasson E, Bixler D, Haddy L, Duncan MA. Hospital Impact After a Chemical Spill That Compromised the Potable Water Supply: West Virginia, January 2014. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness. 2017 Mar 6:1-4. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2016.193.
In January 2014, a chemical spill of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol and propylene glycol phenyl ethers contaminated the potable water supply of approximately 300,000 West Virginia residents. To understand the spill’s impact on hospital operations, we surveyed representatives from 10 hospitals in the affected area during January 2014. We found that the spill-related loss of potable water affected many aspects of hospital patient care (eg, surgery, endoscopy, hemodialysis, and infection control of Clostridium difficile). Hospital emergency preparedness planning could be enhanced by specifying alternative sources of potable water sufficient for hemodialysis, C. difficile infection control, and hospital processing and cleaning needs (in addition to drinking water).