July 1, 2008

Gas Main Break Disrupts Lahey Weekend

By Matthew K. Roy, The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.

Jul. 1--PEABODY -- Outpatient service at Lahey Clinic was temporarily interrupted Saturday when construction workers hit a gas main.

The construction is part of the hospital's expansion project, Lahey spokesman Scott Hartman said. The break in the gas main, which was outside the building, happened before 9 a.m. Gas service was shut off while a crew repaired the main, Hartman said.

In the meantime, the hospital postponed appointments scheduled for Saturday until the problem was fixed. Most patients were able to reschedule for later in the day, according to Hartman. The hospital was fully operational by 2:30 p.m.

"On a Saturday, there is not a lot of (outpatient) activity," Hartman said. "My understanding is that not a lot of folks were affected."

No one had to be evacuated because of the incident, he said. Ambulances were diverted to the emergency rooms of other local hospitals. Lahey's emergency room remained open to walk-ins, Hartman said.

Next to the Northshore Mall, Lahey Clinic is a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine. It provides a range of services, from primary care to cancer diagnosis and treatment to kidney and liver transplantation.

Lahey is adding a three-story wing on land previously used for parking. It will increase the 160,000-square-foot facility by 65,000 square feet.

The expansion is expected to be completed by May of next year.


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