Power outage at Royal Adelaide Hospital blamed on generator failure
Updated September 11, 2019 17:49:34
SA Health says no patients were harmed as a result of a power outage which struck part of the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) this morning.
- The outage comes about 18 months after another one last year
- SA Health said the latest power cut lasted about four minutes
- It said a generator failure during routine testing was to blame
SA Health said this morning’s outage lasted four minutes and affected two levels on the eastern side of the building.
Central Adelaide Local Health Network director of operational services Elke Kropf said the outage was caused by a generator failure, which occurred during standard monthly testing.
“Staff were aware of the generator testing in advance, and there were no adverse patient outcomes,” she said.
“Monthly generator testing ensures we can identify any issues with our generators in advance should there be a power outage.”
Australian Medical Association president Chris Moy said patients were undergoing procedures at the time of the blackout.
“My understanding is the staff were actually notified about this; one would hope that they would have been contingencies to make sure that there was no situation where people put at harm,” Dr Moy said.
“They weren’t totally in the dark about the fact that they was going to go dark. And they were just making sure in this case that the power could come back on.
“It would have been scary if the monitors had gone off at the time, but there was no harm to patients.”
Not the first time hospital has gone dark
Two surgical theatres were plunged into darkness, other treatments were disrupted and some people got stuck in lifts.
All of the building’s 40 operating theatres were impacted by delays, including one instance where a medical team was given the go-ahead to begin a procedure, only to be told to stop after the patient had already been anaesthetised and intubated.
That blackout led to four separate investigations, but SA Health has stopped short of declaring the building safe from future failures.
At the time of the 2018 blackout, the then opposition leader Steven Marshall criticised SA Health for conducting the testing while surgery was underway.
“There is just no way that testing like this should be done when patients are in the operating theatre, putting their lives at risk,” he told reporters.
Mr Marshall today said the two situations were different.
“We now have full information provided to the hospital so that they are perfectly aware of the testing,” he told Parliament.
“It is a completely different regime to what existed under the previous government where there was a very serious blackout, interruption to the energy supply, which had serious ramifications.”
During construction, the $2.4 billion hospital earned a reputation as Australia’s most expensive building and was beset by delays and cost blowouts prior to completion in 2017.
Two workers were killed in accidents at the site, and the emergency department has been repeatedly criticised for failing to ease congestion in the health system.
First posted September 11, 2019 14:24:40