Surgery by cellphone light after Bara power cut - Jack Bloom

DA MPL says power cut lasted several hours, but backup generators didn't kick in


Last week, early on Friday morning, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital was hit by a power failure.

The power cut lasted for several hours from around 2 am, but the backup generators did not work to restore power.

Surgeons at the operating theatres were forced to use the light of a cellphone to finish operations (photo available on request).

Patients on ventilators had to be assisted manually in the dark.

It's outrageous that this is the seventh power cut at the hospital this year.

Previous power failures were as follows:

  • 3 January - out for 8 hours due to Eskom power fault
  • 20 January - out for 5 hours because of a power overload
  • 27 April - out for 8 hours due to cable theft
  • 2 April - out for 4 hours due to power overload
  • 30 April - out for 11 and a half hours due to cable theft
  • 15 May - out for 6 hours because two cables were stolen at Orlando station.

The hospital has suffered a total of about 48 hours of power cuts this year.

It is most disturbing that the generators did not function, which has happened previously as well. Generators are supposed to be tested regularly, so why did they fail yet again to the great distress of staff and patients?

Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo must institute an urgent inquiry into the power failures at this hospital.

Those who are to blame must be disciplined severely and replaced by competent people.

Statement issued by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Health Spokesman, September 9 2012

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