JFL North, the temporary hospital that took four years to construct and recently celebrated its grand opening, is facing yet another delay. On Friday, the Juan F. Luis Hospital announced that the transfer of patients to the facility has been postponed by a month.
JFL revealed that during a systems check conducted as part of final inspections, four issues were discovered. These included a malfunctioning transformer for the facility alarm systems, a faulty damper in the fire alert system, a programming error in the nurse call system, and a software concern with the CT scanner, according to hospital officials.
The statement explained that, with these systems not functioning as intended, JFL could not conduct many essential life safety drills. Consequently, the hospital has pushed back the patient transfer date to April 22, while the initial date was set for March 25, as stated in a press release on March 8.
During a March 7 walkthrough, Hospital CEO Douglas Koch informed Governor Albert Bryan and Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach that patient transfer would start on March 25. However, the hospital’s press release the following day mentioned that the transfer had been postponed to April 22.
In Friday’s press release, Mr. Koch stressed that patient safety remains the hospital’s top priority. He described the decision to delay patient transfer as “difficult” but necessary due to the identified issues. Mr. Koch reassured that none of the problems are overly complicated and that solutions have been identified for all of them. Parts have been ordered, technicians are being scheduled, and the hospital is expected to clear this final hurdle soon.
At the grand opening event on March 7, Governor Bryan humorously commented on the lengthy process, saying, “Some people graduate magna cum laude, summa cum laude. This project? Thank you laude.”
JFL North, which was initially scheduled for completion by the end of 2019, has faced multiple delays and setbacks during its four-year development. The project saw five CEOs, two governors, two elections, and cost $130 million, making it “the largest project ever completed in the Virgin Islands,” according to Governor Bryan. He emphasized the importance of learning from these challenges and being humble enough to ask for help when needed.