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Water Emergency Forces St. John Broken Arrow To Close

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BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

The water emergency in Broken Arrow has forced one of the city's biggest hospital to close its doors, a spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon.

A precautionary boil order was issued by city officials on Tuesday after a major water main broke.

06/12/2013 Related Story: Broken Arrow Crews Busy Testing City's Water Supply

"As a result of potential water contamination issues in the City of Broken Arrow, St. John Broken Arrow Hospital is discontinuing operations until further notice," a statement said. "Over the last few days, patients and staff have been utilizing bottled water and a backup water supply as a preventative measure. Until the situation is resolved, patients currently receiving care at St. John Broken Arrow will be transferred in a coordinated manner to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa and St. John Owasso."

A PSO transformer that powers Broken Arrow's water treatment facility went out Monday night, forcing the city to shut off its main water valve to Pryor. It burst when they reopened it Tuesday.

The boil order is in effect until further notice. City crews are currently testing and sampling the water supply.

Restaurants using the city water supply were ordered closed by the county health department earlier in the day.

06/12/2013 Related Story: Health Department Orders Broken Arrow Restaurants Closed

Non-medical operations are continuing at St. John Broken Arrow. A spokesperson said the hospital transported 13 patients to other campuses in the system. An undisclosed number of patients were able to be discharged.

St. Francis Broken Arrow does not perform surgical procedures, so that hospital remains mostly unaffected by the possible water contamination. A spokesperson said St. Francis is using bottled water and its backup water supply for its needs over the past two days.

The water emergency is also forcing urgent care facilities and smaller hospitals in the area to make some adjustments.

Family Medicine Associates said employees had to drive to Catoosa to find enough bottled water to get through Thursday. The staff there brought nearly 30 gallons of water for washing hands and also brought in some extra for drinking.

They also closed bathrooms to keep patients safe.

"Our number one priority is our patients," said nursing supervisor Julie Steinberg. "We have patients scheduled, and as long as we're doing everything that we can to keep them healthy and our employees healthy, then we didn't see any reason to close the practice."

In case of an emergency requiring more than urgent care, EMSA transport to midtown and downtown hospitals is just a matter of minutes. In addition, South Tulsa hospitals close to Broken Arrow include St. Francis South, located at 91st Street and U.S. 169, and Hillcrest's SouthCrest, located at 88th Street and 101st East Avenue.

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