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E.J. Noble Hospital blood bank remains closed

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GOUVERNEUR — E.J. Noble Hospital is open but its services remain limited because the state Department of Health has not allowed its blood bank to reopen.

Therefore, the hospital cannot handle any medical situation which could involve blood loss. Its obstetrical unit remains closed and most surgeries are not allowed.

Righting deficiencies with the blood bank were part of the hospital’s overall plan of correction, state Department of Health spokesman Bill Schwarz said.

“There are elements still being addressed within that,” he said. “What has reopened to date has been vetted and approved.”

The Department of Health shut down the hospital Sept. 28 because of problems in the lab. One of the reasons for the closure was a patient was transfused with the wrong blood type.

The hospital partially reopened Monday after an on-site survey by the Department of Health determined the lab has made significant progress. Help with restructuring the lab came from Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, which will continue to supervise.

The emergency room is open but any patients who need treatment beyond the lab’s limited services will be stabilized and taken to other hospitals.

The emergency room had a patient as soon as it opened and was busy by early afternoon, Mayor Ronald P. McDougal said.

The hospital is working on re-establishing the blood bank and is pleased to have made enough strides to reopen, even on a limited basis, said Timothy J. Monroe, chairman of the E.J. Noble board.

“We’re ecstatic. We’re happy to see the hospital open,” he said. “This community has been threatened by the lack of the hospital.”

Dr. Monroe, a veterinarian, said Department of Health representatives are scheduling a meeting with the hospital board but agenda topics remain uncertain.

Administrator Charles P. Conole did not return a call for comment and it was unclear how many employees were called back to work for Monday’s reopening. Approximately 70 were told not to report for work after the hospital closed.

Lab employees, emergency room clerks and monitoring technicians were among those recalled who are members of Service Employees International Union Local 1199, administrative organizer Mary L. Wilsie said. More employees are expected to return to work as hospital services return.

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