Power restored to Presbyterian after long, dark weekend

Posted at: 09/01/2013 9:47 PM
Updated at: 09/02/2013 7:17 AM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Roughly 400 patients at Presbyterian Hospital can finally rest easy after hospital staff fully restored power to the complex Sunday afternoon.

Saturday morning, an outage near the hospital left it and 1,200 nearby PNM customers in the dark.

PNM crews restored power to the neighborhood later in the day Saturday, but Presbyterian was unable to reconnect with the electrical grid.

"Just really frustrating," Gail Teas said. Her daughter gave birth early Saturday morning and was recovering when the hospital lost electricity.

"They had the entrances blocked off, there was police tape, security guards everywhere," she said.

Staff members at the hospital said they still have not identified the cause of the outage.  They also do not know why the hospital's backup generators took more than two hours to kick in on Saturday.

Administrator Sandra Podley said the generators powered air conditioning in some parts of the hospital, critical care machines in patient rooms and some lighting.

"I want to thank our patients and our visitors. We are so sorry for any inconvenience that this has caused," administrator Sandra Podley said.

She said three patients were transferred to other hospitals – one to University of New Mexico Hospital, two to the Heart Hospital of New Mexico.

Podley said her staff prepares and trains for power failures, but said an extended power outrage was something that they've never experienced before.

She said once the staff identifies the cause of the outage, it will do what it can to prevent the situation for reoccurring.

"We look for lessons learned, and then put practices in place. We plan, and then we drill," she said.

Regardless of what did or did not happen, families felt as though the hospital could have done more to comfort patients.

“I've never heard of a hospital running on partial power, not having backup generators to actually fully kick in, and keep things functioning. I just they should have been more organized," Teas said.