Five intubated coronavirus patients died over the weekend at Tijuana’s General Hospital, and authorities are investigating whether a power failure was to blame.
The loss of power occurred for a few hours on Saturday, and then again on Sunday for most of the day, and is attributed to the theft of wiring from an electrical substation. Four patients hooked up to ventilators died on Saturday, and a fifth passed away on Sunday.
By protocol, when a power outage occurs, patients whose treatment requires electrical power are moved to areas of the hospital serviced by the hospital’s generator, but hospital staff claim the generator wasn’t in proper working order. The hospital’s quality and safety committee is investigating the incident.
State Health Minister Alonso Pérez Rico disputed the claim that the power outage led to the patients’ deaths. “… the ventilators have an internal battery that lasts from four to six hours and that’s more than enough time to move the patient,” he said.
Another version of the weekend’s events has doctors stating that the generator did not supply power to the elevators and thus they could not move intubated patients to floors that had electrical power.
The patients who died were unable to be moved to the hospital’s morgue until power was restored on Monday.
The hospital’s director, Alberto Reyes Escamilla, said in a statement that at no time was the safety of patients compromised and denied that patients had died due to the electrical failure.