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May 2, 2008
Hospital without electricity for almost an hour

The headlight from an ambulance had to be used so that hospital staff could work on critical patients at the Accident and Emergency Department last Saturday, April 26th, when the generator failed to kick in when electricity went at around 6:20pm.{{more}}

Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater described it as an unfortunate incident, as he issued an apology and explanation in Parliament last Tuesday, April 29, but concerned health care givers told SEARCHLIGHT that what happened was a potentially disastrous situation.

When the power outage took place at around 6:20pm, hospital workers and patients alike waited in anticipation that the generator would come on.

It did not, and as five minutes turned to ten, ten to twenty, twenty to half an hour, SEARCHLIGHT understands that serious concern abounded.

“Just use your imagination. Persons with respiratory problems were on oxygen support which depends on electricity to operate. What if someone was undergoing surgery. What if a mother was giving birth and doctors were performing a C-section. There are so many things that could have gone wrong,” one concerned health care giver said.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that a gunshot rang out in a nearby community at around 6:50pm and a few minutes later, a man ran on to the hospital compound nursing a gun shot wound.

“At this point , patients were very fearful because it was dark and there were not any police officers in case of any emergency,” the source said.

Dr Slater told the Parliament that the situation was not a case of bad management, saying that a few days before, the generators worked fine when Pan American Health Organization personnel were assessing the hospital’s operations.

He said that maintenance personnel determined that it was a problem with the generator’s battery that caused the unfortunate situation.

Be that as it may, sources at the hospital are reportedly counting their lucky stars that nothing that could have gone tragically wrong went wrong!