WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington say Hurricane Irene is prompting them to accelerate the transfer of their last remaining patients to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Spokesman Chuck Dasey said Friday that the last 30 patients will be moved by ambulance Saturday morning between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The transfer had been planned for Sunday.

The action will complete the movement of 210 Walter Reed patients to Bethesda and 50 to Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia as the famous military hospital prepares to close. A flag-lowering ceremony at Walter Reed is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Bethesda campus will be renamed the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by Sept. 15.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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