California -- Phone glitches plague Indio hospital : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Phone glitches plague Indio hospital Staff resorts to cell phones until new system is installed By Christine Mahr The Desert Sun June 29th, 2000 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- INDIO -- Theyre prepared for life-threatening situations and major emergencies such as power outages, but one problem has John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital officials baffled -- phones that dont work.

Hospital personnel are using cell phones, walkie-talkies, pagers and even volunteer runners as they await a new phone system to replace one that malfunctioned during a power outage Sunday and that hasnt worked properly since.

Hospital officials said Wednesday the disrupted phone service is annoying but not life-threatening.

Its meant internal turmoil for us and its inconvenient for the public but theres been no interruption of medical treatment or delayed patient care, said Kathi Sankey-Robinson, hospital spokeswoman.

When the hospital experienced the power outage Sunday, a backup generator kicked in and other power returned, but the phone systems capability was diminished by about 50 percent, Sankey-Robinson said.

External calls can come into the main hospital line but direct extension lines dialed within the hospital or from outside are not working, she said.

Its been very busy, said switchboard operator Blanche Martinez.

Martinez must not only answer the constantly ringing phone but also use a walkie-talkie or runners to get messages to patients or various hospital departments.

Sankey-Robinson said none of the phone experts called in were able to figure out what the problem is, so a new system was ordered.

Its expected to be installed in the next few days.

Lou Schwartz, hospital nursing supervisor, said theres a bright side to hospital staffers having to communicate by walkie-talkies.

I hear everything so I know everything thats going on in the hospital, he said.

Christine Mahr can be reached at 775-4207.

-- PHO (, June 29, 2000

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