Doctors forced to perform surgery by flashlight during MUHC power failure

We're only now just learning that during a power failure that affected the MUHC's Glen site last week, surgeons were forced to complete their operations by flashlight.  

The hospital is investigating why one of their generators failed to kick in July 23.

The MUHC sent a statement last week saying that the failure lasted about an hour and the back-up generators were not functioning.  

Today's clarification said that, "because one of the 11 generators did not function properly, all adult ORs were without full power during 51 min. That being said anesthesia machines and other equipment that had battery backup were operational."

The MUHC would not say why they did not say anything about the flashlights being used.

"We do have flashlights all around the site in case of emergency," said MUHC spokesman Richard Fahey in an interview with CJAD 800.

"In any extreme circumstances, our clinical teams do take the appropriate measures to ensure patient care - that's what they did."

Fahey could not say whether the part about the flashlights was disclosed to the families of the two patients who were undergoing surgery at the time.

Pierre Hurteau, spokesman for the MUHC Users' Committee, said he was surprised to learn along with everyone else about the flashlight surgery.

Hurteau said he's hoping they resolve the generator issue quickly.

"We have to fix up these things and some of them are really serious like this one because they may put - I'm not saying they do - but they may put the security of patients at risk and that's important," said Hurteau.