Families shocked at no power in hospital high care

2013-03-07 00:00

NORTHDALE Hospital was without a high care unit on Tuesday night because of a power outage in parts of the hospital.

The families of two patients in the high care ward were shocked to find a big padlock on the doors on Tuesday night, and that their relatives had been moved to B ward.

A family member, who did not want to be named for fear that the patient would be victimised, said she learnt from the patients that there was no electricity in the high care unit and no generator.

They could not understand how some parts of the hospital had electricity while other sections did not.

When The Witness arrived at the hospital on Tuesday night, the high care section was in darkness and the doors padlocked.

For the relatives, what was most distressing was seeing their acutely sick family members battling in the heat.

“B ward had lights, but very little else; the windows were open, hot air was blowing in as well as an invasion of mosquitoes. Patients who could barely move were being bitten by mosquitoes and there was nothing they could do. It was very sad to see,” said the relative, who was not sure how many of the seriously ill people who were moved were going to survive the night.

Another woman who was visiting her mother in B Ward yesterday afternoon said that when she was there on Tuesday night, patients were being brought from other wards because of the power outage.

“There was also a lady that had just given birth in the ward.”

She was also bothered by cats roaming the passages of the ward.

“I’ve seen the cats. They also walk around the wards and sometimes sleep under the beds,” she said.

Northdale Hospital’s PRO, Mandisa Dlamini, said the outage in the high care unit had been planned to enable them to fix a generator, which was part of the hospital’s backup system. The main power supply to the unit had to be switched off in order to repair the generator.

Dlamini said they had prepared for the situation and had arranged with their “sister hospitals” to take over critically ill patients.

“Emergency cases were referred to Grey’s Hospital and non-emergency patients were attended to by our doctors … nothing was out of control. The situation was handled with success.”

She said because there were also TB patients in the ward, the windows were left open for ventilation.

As for the cats, she said: “Yes, there are cats. They are on a feeding programme, which was done with the SPCA.”

She said family members were informed that patients would be temporarily moved to other wards.

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