Bats force closure of emergency room

An East Texas emergency room has been closed after bats began to spread through the building.

In a statement posted Tuesday night on the Kilgore Police Department social media pages, Good Shepherd Medical Center said "a number of small bats" had moved into the Longview, Texas-based hospital's free-standing emergency room in nearby Kilgore. The bats had moved into the building's walls and ceilings, with some migrating into the area that receives ambulances.

Good Shepherd says it's working with the City of Kilgore, which owns the building, and Allegiance Specialty Hospital, with manages it, to get the bats removed. In the meantime, Good Shepherd had decided it's in the best interests of its patients and staff to suspend emergency medical services in the building until the bats can be removed.

“At this time we believe it is in the best interest of our patients and our staff to temporarily cease our ED services until the situation is resolved and will close the ED at 8 p.m. tonight,” said Good Shepherd Chief Administrative Officer Ron Short. “This decision is not made lightly but is necessary for minimizing the risk of contact with the bats. The safety of our staff and patients always comes first, and we appreciate the hard work by the City of Kilgore and Allegiance to resolve the situation quickly.”