A failed generator caused the death of four coronavirus patients connected to ventilators in a Guadalajara hospital, claim staff at Zapopan’s Valentín Gómez Farías government workers’ hospital.
During a four-hour power outage due to rains in the area on Sunday, the emergency generator failed to kick in and power was lost to the machines that were helping the patients breathe.
Chief radiologist Benjamín Muñoz said the hospital’s maintenance department was at fault for neglecting to replace a defective battery.
“According to colleagues, the generator failed for several hours. They did not have a portable emergency generator that would have been the solution, because the patients on the seventh floor are those in the Covid area who depend on an automatic ventilator,” Muñoz said. “When the power fails, the generator stops and the person dies.”
He also mentioned that last year a faulty generator had resulted in the death of two children.
Muñoz said that when he filmed maintenance workers improperly disposing of hospital liquids earlier this year, he was sanctioned and on the verge of being fired, a process that was put on hold due to the coronavirus emergence.
Several members of the hospital’s medical staff, supported by various health workers unions, had complained about shoddy maintenance in the past and incurred threats and risked retaliation for doing so, they say.
“People have pointed out to the director the negligence, the ineptitude of the person in charge of maintenance, in addition to the workplace harassment they have suffered for almost a year, threats and everything,” said Muñoz who accused the maintenance department of corruption.
Union representative Diego Torres said it was common for public hospital workers to be fired after denouncing deficiencies in maintenance, infrastructure or medical supplies.
“It is undeniable that this health system is not investing what should be invested. It is undeniable that in a situation of a pandemic … resources should be urgently made available,” Torres said.
Union workers and representatives announced that national protests at public hospitals will take place July 1, with demonstrations planned for Jalisco, Guerrero, Chiapas, Baja California, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Coahuila.