Blackout at NUH from failure in "hardware component"

The power outage lasted one and a half hours and affected mainly the first floor of NUH's main building. ST PHOTO: SUE-ANNE CHEOW

SINGAPORE -A power outage at the National University Hospital (NUH) yesterday resulted in ambulances being diverted to other hospitals and patients in the affected area directed to other parts of the hospital.

The power went out at 4.15pm for 11/2 hours and affected mainly the first floor of NUH's main building.

The first floor houses the Accident and Emergency Department, specialist outpatient clinics and a pharmacy. The main building was built in 1985 and has been refurbished extensively.

Said an NUH spokesman: "As a safety measure, patients were redirected to services in our other buildings such as the NUH Medical Centre, and ambulances were diverted to other hospitals.

"Our investigations showed that the disruption was due to a failure in one of the hardware components and we will put in measures to prevent a recurrence." She did not specify what the component was but said the outage affected mostly the lights and air-conditioning units.

When The Straits Times arrived at NUH at about 5.30pm, some lighting had already been turned back on.

Many visitors that ST spoke to said they were not affected by the lack of power.

ST understands that the blackout did not affect any of the wards, operating theatres or most critical-care units.

The only critical-care area affected was the A&E Department, but there were no injuries or danger for any of the patients as a result.

A 62-year-old cleaner at the A&E Department

said that everything seemed to proceed as usual and no one panicked.

Power was restored progressively and things went back to normal at 5.45pm, said NUH.

The main source of discomfort seemed to be the lack of air-conditioning in the waiting areas.

A student in his 20s, who was visiting a patient and wanted to be known only as Mr C. Tay, said: "It was quite warm and stuffy, but not unbearable."

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