ISLAMABAD: A power breakdown and the absence of proper alternate arrangements at Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic) resulted in chaos and caused serious problems for patients and health workers.
The second-largest public sector hospital in Islamabad, which is exempt from load shedding, on Friday suffered a lengthy power outage — caused by a fault in a transformer --- soon after which the hospital generators also failed.
Patients who had been admitted in the congested wards and those seated in outpatient departments had to suffer through the humidity and heat for the entire duration.
According to doctors, two operations had to be postponed and the treatment of numerous patients was delayed because electronic equipment had been rendered unusable.
Zulfiqar, an elderly man whose son had been injured in an accident, said that they had to wait for hours to get some x-rays done because the machine needed power to operate.
A woman who was scheduled to be treated for a tumour complained that there had been no electricity since that morning and even the fans were not working. Attendants and some patients ended up going outside for some respite, but those in serious conditions remained in the rooms, she said.
“At around 11 am, the power started fluctuating while we were operating on a cancer patient”, one doctor said. “The ventilator and anaesthesia equipment turned off. We were forced to manage everything manually, and completed the operation with the aid of cell phone torches as it would be dangerous for the patient to stop midway”.
For at least an hour, power kept fluctuating and there was no back-up, he said, adding, “Thankfully, no causalities were caused.”
Polyclinic Executive Director Dr Iftikhar Naro said the breakdown of a transformer due to short-circuiting led three others to fail.
“The 300 kva generator then overheated. The other generators remained fully operational, and there was no pause in supply of electricity to intensive care units” he maintained, while claiming, “We also managed to supply power to the operation theatres”.
Public works, IESCO, and our administrative staff are working to restore power, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2016.