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San Jose Hospital Loses Power Amid Heat Wave

Patients, doctors and nurses at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center ended up in the dark and without air conditioning for hours Tuesday.

First, the power went out and then, the hospital’s emergency generator failed. Three hospital buildings lost power, forcing the hospital to cancel elective surgeries and move patients.

It was all hands on deck last night as doctors and nurses scrambled to care for patients in the dark after a backup generator failed.

“It’s one thing that created a very dangerous situation because we had no electricity for pumps, ventilators or monitors,” said Trauma attending surgeon Dr. Gregg Adams.

Adams, a member of the Santa Clara Valley physicians group said without access to ventilators and other critical equipment some patients from building K had to be rushed to other buildings that still had power. Others were transferred to alternate hospitals.

“Seven patients were deferred to other hospital including one patient with burns another with stroke in the ER,” Adams said.

At one point the hospital went black, forcing them to divert ambulances and emergency patients to other hospitals.

Adams said Valley Medical was also forced to cancel elective surgeries scheduled for Wednesday.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Valley Medical Center which issued this statement saying,” Our emergency plans went into place immediately and patient safety was never compromised. At no time were patients put into life-threatening situation. For a period of time last night, the emergency department was closed to stroke heart attack trauma and ambulance arrivals.”

But some employees said they were in the dark at least four hours.

Adams credits the quick thinking and devotion of staff, who used flashlights and cell phones to check on patients and even managed to save 200 units of refrigerated blood.

“We emptied out all of the ice from the icemakers and they used it to keep that blood safe,” Adams said.

O’Connor Hospital in San Jose also lost power Tuesday but officials told NBC Bay Area Wednesday that their backup generator worked.

Things didn’t get back to normal here until after 2 a.m. at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center because even after power came back, electrical equipment and CT scans had to be recalibrated to make sure they were working properly.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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