Power Failure During Surgery Kills Patient


A 62-year-old Florida woman suffered a fainting spell in mid-December and required surgery to have an angiogram to clear her clogged carotid artery. While doctors at the Palmetto General Hospital were in the middle of the procedure, the power suddenly went out.

Doctors told the family that the backup battery on the CT machine they were using malfunctioned just as they were guiding the catheter through the patient’s artery. As a result of this incident, and the fact the doctor couldn’t see what he was doing, the patient died.

The woman’s family plans to file a suit against the hospital, General Electric, the company that made the CT machine, as well as the company contracted to maintain the CT machine.

The hospital conducted an internal investigation and notified the state agency. The state agency said in their report that no “hospital deficiencies were found.” The hospital told local news outlets that the death was simply a tragic consequence of the power going out.

While accidents happen and there are risks involved in surgery, even a routine one such as an angiogram, families expect hospitals to be sufficiently prepared in cases of power outages. Unfortunately, it seems even these backup measures are not enough to keep some patients alive.