Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Health Spokesman
Last week on Friday afternoon at 2pm the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital suffered a power failure, and most generators failed to kick in for one and a half hours. All surgery was disrupted, with operations having to be abandoned in the middle. Intensive care units were also hit, with no back-up power for about an hour. Full power to all areas of the hospital was only restored at 6pm. Last year the hospital had seven power failures totalling about 48 hours. These 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
* 28 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.
* 7 September – out for 5 hours, unexplained In the September incident last year, surgeons had to operate by the light of a cell phone, and the contractor apologised for the three new generators that failed to switch on automatically. This apology was accepted by Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu who said “We welcome contractors which have a social conscience and are committed to rectifying problems with speed and efficiency taking into account the gravity of the situation”. It is totally unacceptable that generators have yet again failed, placing the lives of patients at risk. What is the root of this persistent problem? There must be an urgent investigation why power failures continue to plague this hospital, and severe sanctions must be applied for any identified negligence.