Eschweiler (North Rhine-Westphalia) – The water came in the night from Wednesday to Thursday: The small river Inde flooded the St. Antonius Hospital in Eschweiler, just 200 meters away. Shortly afterwards the lower floors were under water, the power went out, 300 patients – including 17 intensive care patients – had to be evacuated and moved to other hospitals.
Now, a few days later, BILD was on site, talking to the chief physician of internal medicine, Prof. Uwe Janssens, about the horror flood, about the energetic helpers – and what damage the water has caused.
“We already knew in the late afternoon that the river would overflow. The management brought in people and staff. We didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t know that it was going to be so bad. But then the water level rose and rose, and the street in front of the hospital turned into a raging river. After midnight the water broke into the hospital and the basement was filled with water. “
Photo: Hojabr Riahi
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Prof. Uwe Janssens reports on the effects of the flood disaster in the St. Antonius Hospital in Eschweiler. The damage is in the double-digit million range Photo: Hojabr Riahi
The electricity was turned off in Eschweiler – and the emergency power generators started up. However, according to Professor Janssens: “It had to be switched off again for safety reasons, from 2 or 3 o’clock we were completely without electricity.” Help came from the fire brigade, who brought emergency power generators to the helipad. So the intensive care unit could be supplied.
The evacuation was planned for Thursday: “We were on an island, no one came out, no one came in, no rescue transporter, no rescue helicopter because the weather conditions did not allow it.” heavy vans come in.
Photo: Hojabr Riahi
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Emptied: Destroyed inventory and medical equipment had to be cleared from the wardsPhoto: Hojabr Riahi
Patients carried up stairs from the seven-story building
With the many helpers, including THW, fire brigade, Malteser relief service, unless the evacuation was over: “We have seven floors, around 8.45 pm the last patient was CARRIED out of the hospital, seriously ill patients were carried down the stairs. That has been a great moment of help. We are very happy that no one was harmed by this huge disaster. ”
Where this was medically possible, some patients were then discharged home: “They are doing well so far,” says Prof. Janssens. Others had been taken to surrounding hospitals, including those who had recently been operated on. You were accompanied by the surgeons. The transfer letters to the colleagues had to be written by hand: “We had nothing more, digital was over.”
Medical device destroyed
The damage to the hospital complex is immense: “Two large new buildings have been completely flooded, the edge of the water is 2.50 meters,” says Janssens. “Everything is here, everything is destroyed: giant X-ray systems, an MRT that was only installed three weeks ago, has been destroyed, complete laboratory systems, operating rooms.
Photo: Hojabr Riahi
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The water was up to 2.50 meters high in the flooded roomsPhoto: Hojabr Riahi
The employees there are currently clearing everything so that things can continue later. The power supply is to be rebuilt this week, supply and sewage pipes are to follow.
“We estimate that we will be able to care for patients in the basic operation again in September, and extensively in autumn.”