Systems are now functioning after Royal University Hospital experienced a partial power distribution failure early Tuesday morning during planned maintenance. The distribution failure resulted in a temporary loss of systems like medical air, suction and air flow to operating rooms, resulting in the postponement of patient surgeries planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Royal University Hospital

Royal University Hospital

“Facilities were undertaking a planned power shutdown of emergency power overnight as part of the ongoing electrical upgrades at the hospital,” says Nilesh Kavia, Saskatoon Health Region’s vice-president of Finance and Corporate Services. “Although contingency plans were in place, a piece of electrical equipment indirectly involved failed in a way that wasn’t anticipated. This piece of equipment does not supply power, but it is involved in power distribution.”

Affected systems were brought back online throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, including steam, medical air and suction, and air flow to the building and operating rooms.

“There were a total of 37 surgeries postponed over the last two days,” says Jackie Mann, vice president of Integrated Health Services. “I do want to express my sincere apology that we had to reschedule these surgeries. We absolutely recognize that for every patient and their family, it’s a very stressful time to have surgery. We really had to do this to ensure their safety.”

Although functioning, several systems remain without back up power supply. Facilities and maintenance teams are assessing the best course of action to develop a permanent solution. RUH infrastructure remains a priority this year, including several planned upgrades to the electrical system.

“Thank you to all the RUH Facilities and Maintenance staff for all the hard work they’ve been doing for the past few days to get us through this difficult situation,” adds Kavia. “Many of them worked through the night and worked very hard to get some of the issues we had resolved. As well I want to thank all our patients, employees and care providers for their patience and cooperation over the last few days.”