Accident will delay University of Iowa Hospitals construction work for several days

Patient injured by falling construction debris

UPDATE: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics officials expect construction work on a portion of a new addition to the Pomerantz Family Pavilion to be halted for at least several days after an accident Thursday afternoon.

A pre-cast concrete panel that was suspended by a crane fell at about 2:20 p.m. Thursday, breaking a window on the third floor of the west-facing side of the Pomerantz Pavilion. The crane was stationary at the time and did not fall, UI Spokesman Tom Moore said Friday.

The concrete panel was being placed with the crane when "somehow it became detached from the crane," Moore said. The concrete panel broke the window, but the panel did not enter the hospital building, he said.

No police incident report about the accident was available Friday afternoon.

A patient inside a hospital clinic was injured by broken glass and treated for those injuries. Moore said Friday he did not have consent to release details about the patient or the patient's condition.

The UI hired structural engineers from Shive-Hattery to investigate the incident, and officials anticipate a report sometime next week, Moore said. In the meantime, the work of attaching the pre-cast concrete panels to the side of the building has been halted, but other work associated with that expansion project continues, he said.

The crane work is part of the expansion of the Ambulatory Surgery Center in the Pomerantz Family Pavilion. The $10.8 million project, which began construction in spring 2012, will add a fourth level and a partial fifth level. The general contractor on the project is McComas-Lacina Construction Company of Iowa City, Moore said.

Some of the clinical services housed in the west side of the Pomerantz Pavilion have been relocated to elsewhere in the hospital as a precaution for now, Moore said. For example, pediatric ophthalmology on the first level was moved into the adult portion of the eye clinic, he said.

"There are no patient care activities or staff activities ongoing in that portion of the building, the west-facing portion of the building on all levels," he said. "Because safety is our top priority, we wanted to ensure there would be no hazards that would be posed to anyone who would be receiving care or working in those areas."

There was no damage estimate as of Friday, Moore said.

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