Surgeons forced to operate by torchlight

August 20, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

Surgeons were forced to carry out operations by torchlight following a power failure at an NHS hospital, it emerged yesterday.

The blackout occurred during routine power testing at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital when emergency back-up generators failed to kick in.

Operating theatres and the intensive care unit were plunged into darkness, leaving surgeons with no option but to operate by torchlight.

The incident only came to light yesterday after a Freedom of Information request obtained minutes from a hospital meeting.

They reveal that one unnamed board member stated it was ”unacceptable for an event of this nature to have happened”.

”[She] commented that she was mindful that for an event such as this the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) could present the trust with an improvement notice or prohibition notice.

”She asked if the patient who had been in surgery at the time had been informed that their surgery had been finished by torchlight.”

The failure happened during routine testing of power supplies at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on 13 March this year.

Surgeons had to use torches after the main power failed during the tests and two generators which required manual starting did not work.

The problem was exacerbated by a failure of back-up battery-powered lights.

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Royal Hospital confirmed the incident but refused to comment further.


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