With No Running Water, Kaiser's Woodland Hills Medical Center Shuts Down — For Now

Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center has been without running water since a water main break on Sunday. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)

Kaiser Permanente's Woodland Hills Medical Center has temporarily shut down after a main water line break left the hospital without running water on Sunday.

"As of last night [Tuesday], the Woodland Hills Medical Center Urgent Care and the Emergency Departments were temporarily closed until further notice," said Dr. Greg Kelman, Kaiser's medical director for the Woodland Hills and Ventura service area.

"There are no longer any patients in our hospital," he said.

Company officials had announced Monday that all primary care and surgery appointments would be cancelled for the time being.

The hospital redirected patients to nearby Kaiser facilities and community hospitals, sending out texts, phone calls and emails to get the word out about the closure.

"We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this closure is causing," Dr. Kelman said.

Kaiser initially estimated the hospital would have reliable water service restored by the end of the day Thursday, but now it looks as if that won't happen until Saturday morning.

The hope is to start slowly restarting operations beginning on Saturday, "but please understand that the situation continues to remain fluid and timing could change," said Woodland Hills Medical Center Senior Vice President Murtaza Sanwari.

DURING MAINTENANCE, 'WE DISCOVERED THERE WAS A LEAK'

The problem came to light when ongoing maintenance and upgrades to the hospital required a shutdown of the water systems last weekend. "Once the water systems were brought back on line, that's when we discovered there was a leak in the main line," Sanwari said.

As dictated by the hospital's emergency management plan, the hospital started slowly transferring patients elsewhere, he said.

The hospital at Kaiser Woodland Hills treats an average of 120 patients a week.

Kaiser installed a temporary water line, but more comprehensive testing was required before the hospital could start getting back to normal.

On Wednesday, port-a-potties and hand-washing stations stood outside an entrance to the hospital's emergency room.

State and county officials had recommended that Kaiser conduct "additional testing" on the temporary water line before reopening "to ensure patient safety," Sanwari said.