There is no doubt that the Chronicle-Independent’s recent coverage of a bat problem at KershawHealth was not exactly the kind of story the hospital’s administrators like to see published.
It was a story that had to be told, from our perspective, so that the public would know what was going on at the county’s one and only hospital.
However, as S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Media Relations’ Chris Delcamp said, “It appears to me that KershawHealth is doing everything possible to correct the situation,”
Furthermore, this was not a problem of KershawHealth’s making. As both KershawHealth and DHEC pointed out, bats often get into all kinds of buildings, including schools, businesses and homes.
According to a timeline KershawHealth provided DHEC, which the agency then shared with the C-I, the hospital began dealing with the bats on Dec. 5 after two of them were reported in the intensive care unit (ICU). That day and on Dec. 9 and 10, staff encountered bats and removed them, but found no evidence of additional bats nor droppings.
KershawHealth then contacted Ecolab, which made an assessment on Dec. 14 and figured out the bats were getting into the building from behind the hospital’s large sign just above the ICU’s windows. Since then, Ecolab has been helping KershawHealth locate and safely remove the bats and clean anything with which they might have come into contact.
KershawHealth also closed down the ICU, moving those patients to the cardiac catheterization lab for continued treatment, as well as moving several patients who needed a higher level of care to Columbia hospitals. This was done before DHEC got involved.
In addition, according to KershawHealth CEO Terry Gunn, as a precauation, the hospital sent letters to patients explaining the situation and posted in-hospital signs.
KershawHealth says it is continuing to work to make sure all bats are being removed and to deal with any other related issues in order to reopen the ICU as soon as DHEC has thoroughly checked out the facility and has approved doing so.
We have every confidence that under Gunn’s leadership, the hospital will do exactly that.