Backup Generators Fail Santa Clara Valley Medical Center During Blackout

Parts of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center went without power for four hours during one of the hottest days of the year.

By Mackenna Moralez
September 12, 2022

Parts of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SVMC) in San Jose, California, experienced a blackout for four hours on Sept. 6. O’Connell Hospital was initially impacted by the power outage, but backup generators provided power for the facility and parts of SVMC, but backup generators reportedly failed certain areas of the SVMC campus during 109-degree weather.   

According to ABC7, several buildings within the healthcare campus were impacted by the power outage, including emergency and trauma care, emergency room on the first floor and surgical patients in the surgical and trauma ICU on the second floor. The third floor, which is women’s care, children and newborns were also impacted. During the outage, the emergency department had to close to stroke, heart attack and trauma patients and ambulance arrivals. Seven patients had to be transferred to other facilities, while another nine had to be moved to different parts of the hospital.  

"Emergency planning for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and all hospitals takes place for situations like these,” according to a statement from hospital officials. “Our emergency plans went into place immediately and patient safety was never compromised. At no time were patients put into life threatening situations. The hospitals' backup generators came online immediately and remained functional at O'Connor and in most of SCVMC. However, backup generators failed for a few SCVMC buildings approximately two hours after the initial PG&E outage.” 

According to The Mercury News, PG&E restored power to both buildings at 1:40 a.m. on Sept. 7. It is unclear as to why backup generators failed the healthcare facilities and if they are being replaced.  

Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor for the facility market.  

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