Power outage halts QEH operations

A five-hour power outage caused by a damaged breaker brought operations to a halt at the main building of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) earlier today, hospital officials confirmed this afternoon.

Approximately 15 patients from the Intensive Care Unit were transferred to the Lion’s Eye Care Centre, which was not affected by the power outage.

Elevator services were also impacted, and officers from the Barbados Defence Force were called in to assist in moving patients between floors as a result.  In the Accident and Emergency Department, only major cases were attended to.


QEH Director of Engineering Services, Paula Agbowu

“We would have experienced some water that was coming down into our electrical plant room on the distribution side of our network.  That water was coming from the floor above and it inundated the switch gear.

“Unfortunately it came down in such a manner that it has gotten into the actual switch gear itself and the breakers, and therefore we had to isolate those areas,” Director of Engineering Services, Paula Agbowu told a news conference.


Power has since been restored.


41 Responses to Power outage halts QEH operations

  1. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince October 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    This QEH is a mess. Don’t you have generators? Everyone on charge of QEH ahould be fired. Get serious,deal with the right people. Pay them well. Health care is important!!!!

    • Phyllis G Wallace
      Phyllis G Wallace October 29, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      I’m retiring soon. I can’t count on two hand the people that have asked me if I would go back to Barbados to live. My reply ,time after time, “health care sucks”. I dare one person to start the crap about America having bad hospitals too. I spent a week at QEH . I know what it’s like. I have worked health care all my life. I have a pretty good clue how it really SHOULD be.

    • Arlene LookingGlass
      Arlene LookingGlass October 30, 2016 at 6:13 am

      Want to retired there in the near future but the health care system is scary

    • miche October 30, 2016 at 9:34 am

      you sick and sorry to have to say ,Stupid person,,,what use would generators be if the switch was damaged,, they did what was necessary,,,isolate the problem,,,,,stick to what you know ,,as far as i can see ,,that’s nothing

      • miche October 30, 2016 at 9:44 am

        PLease people,,Stop making everything a political issue,,,, The hospital has an emergency generation plant,,but use your head,,, the switch is damaged,,,they isolated the affected areas,,, that’s all that was necessary until repairs could be done… you couldn’t connect a generator to a faulty switch.

  2. Wavney Rouse
    Wavney Rouse October 29, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Please tell me youall got backup generators..pleaseeee..surely. .what happen to the vent pts?

  3. Tony Webster October 29, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    I bet Fifty Dollars, that we shall not hear one word, not one word, as to how much repairs to the automatic switch-over gear cost tax-payers, or who has been held accountable for not having the roof over high-voltage -and crucial- equipment properly maintained.

    What I do know, is that a couple years back, the Q.E.H. did, to its credit, indeed instal and commission three massive standby generators, which are plainly visible from the main road by the Collymore Rock / Jemmots Lane roundabout, costing several millions. Now if those generators came on-line when the switch-over gear was triggered…

  4. Maria Leclair Dasilva
    Maria Leclair Dasilva October 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    What kind of bs is this, no back up generators? This island is truly fracked. There is sea and sun in other places, it worth going there for!

  5. Sarah Pomeranz Layne
    Sarah Pomeranz Layne October 29, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    no generators at the hospital.. no regular maintenance on the plant to make sure that these thing don’t happen.??? and our government is spending how much on a 50th Independence Celebration?? really???

  6. Phyllis G Wallace
    Phyllis G Wallace October 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Yeah. Very sick people. You know they were so happy to be shifted around .NOT.

  7. Zabeeda Abdool
    Zabeeda Abdool October 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    OMG…I just don’t have words to say ….God blessed…

  8. Phil October 29, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Tony Webster, I can’t agree with you more. Not too long ago, I submitted a proposal to Dr. Dexter James at the request or rather suggestion of Senator Dr. Carol Lady Haynes Jacobs whom I heard in the Senate, lamenting the shortfall of finance to purchase supplies for the QEH. Incidentally this was verbally endorsed by the late former Chief Justice Sir Denys Williams, and Carlton Brathwaite among others. Needless to say, I never received an acknowledgement much less a response from that CEO whether appointed or not. My plan was to construct a 5 story multilevel car park to the immediate North of the Hospital with a ground level air conditioned shopping center which will house a few restaurants, medical supplies stores, and miscellaneous items such as fresh fruits, bed clothing and OTC pharmaceuticals. This facility will accommodate about 2000 paid parking vehicles plus paid staff parking at a monthly rate that works out to about 50 cents per hour. No other hospital in the world provide free parking for staff. Incorporate a car washing, entrepreneurship program whereby the car washers are legally authorized, and pay a daily permission fees of $50 – These guys wash over 50 vehicles per day at $10.00 each. The roof of the park will facilitate solar panels which can provide 2 Megawats of electrical power, far more than what is needs to run the facility on a 24 hour basis. Rent, parking fees and car washers’ fees will earn that facility more than 9 million dollars per year. more than enough to purchase bandages, gauze, soap powder, detergents and other sterilizing material for the hospital and all the other polyclinics. Funding for this project can come from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and even the Caribbean Latin American Development Financial program that Chris Sinkler boasted about, and ev en private investors. Instead of waiting and depending on the mercy of sorrowful wealthy philanthropists with cap in hand, Do something worthwhile and profitable for the QEH.

  9. Clarence Edwards October 29, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Response to Wavney Rouse.

    With all due respect to you as a layman and your limited understanding of such matters, back-up generators would not have sufficed. If the main switchgear, and its associated circuit breakers were inundated with water, the system would shut down, and even if the back-up generator kicked in, as soon as the transfer switch attempted to connect the main switchgear to the generator, that too would shut down. The back-up generators are only good when there is a power outage due to the loss of the utility power, but when there is a fault in the switchgear, no electrical source would be able to remain connected. The inundation by water is what you could refer to as an electrical short-circuit. The electricity would be flowing in all directions through the water and it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see the kind of chaos and destruction that would result if the system did not shut down in order to protect itself and the building. I am a member of the electrical fraternity so I understood clearly what the engineer was talking about.

  10. Brien King
    Brien King October 29, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    The longer excuses are made for not building a new hospital, the more more money will be poured into a old structure that should be decommissioned. I don’t know who’s pockets are being filled for not building a new hospital but I know who know who you are, GOD.
    Scriptures shall be fulfilled with foolish decisions.

  11. Maria Leclair Dasilva
    Maria Leclair Dasilva October 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    It is highly doubtful these people realise how much planning and work is involved in moving patients. How dangerous and life threatening it can be. Lets hope who ever is in charge have an emergency plan/plans in order and has been revised beforehand. With protocols in place which works for disastrous situations. Nothing has happened as yet and it already looks like a nightmare.

  12. Shirley Davis
    Shirley Davis October 30, 2016 at 12:26 am

    That hospital is a mess. I went to visit someone and I couldn’t believe what i saw. The place is very hot. the food Is horrible. Everything is a mess. When are they going to build a new hospital. Trust me. They need it.

    • Angela Gray
      Angela Gray October 30, 2016 at 6:50 am

      Donville Inniss promised a new general hospital 5 years ago! No sign of that 🙁

  13. Deanne Phillips
    Deanne Phillips October 30, 2016 at 1:01 am

    This is just a classic case of people not understanding … The QEH has generators it had nothing to do with the generators not working. Before you knock something make sure u understand it.

    • Ashanda Coward
      Ashanda Coward October 30, 2016 at 5:37 am

      Thats typical bajans for yah

    • Arlene LookingGlass
      Arlene LookingGlass October 30, 2016 at 6:11 am

      I was just wondering what happened to the generators not kicking in?

    • Dennis Connell
      Dennis Connell October 30, 2016 at 7:54 am

      Why didn’t they cut in when the power failed

    • Anne Ince
      Anne Ince October 30, 2016 at 8:39 am

      So explain @deannephillips

    • Risa Ndm Rouse
      Risa Ndm Rouse October 30, 2016 at 9:32 am

      I was there yesterday and in the day the important things were on like the fans and obviously cause it was day time the lights were left off

  14. Anthony Davis October 30, 2016 at 6:28 am

    My exact thought when I read the headline – where are the backup generators? Is this the only hospital where people don’t know what those are? That is not unbelievable, but despicable! How can anyone run a hospital without backup generators!

  15. Tony Webster October 30, 2016 at 7:33 am

    @Phil: Thanks the info, and for refreshing my faith in your core value: always seeking, and suggesting , practical, positive solutions. I could not agree with you the more on this one. Any sound businessman (or woman) would see the value of this. I am ashamed to even try to park my car in that mess to the north, when visiting Q.E.H.

    Hmmm… I note your “no response” from the Big Bossman. When next you do have an opportunity, do ask him where he routinely has has lunch; what’s the tab for this monthly; and who ends up picking up the said tab. Yes, no prize for guessing which top-class South coast eatery plays host to the big guy …I can afford to eat there once a year…when madam’s birthday rolls around. Great Food, in fact excellent stuff, that’s why they got their Zagat Award.

    And to think that when he took up the reigns, I heaved a sigh of relief…thinking that , surely, a professional like him would clean up the whole Q.E.H. mess, quick-sharp!!!

  16. Mac October 30, 2016 at 9:41 am

    You should not make comments on matters of which you have no knowledge.

    Standby generators are used to provide a power source when the normal source fails.

    Breakers are protective devices used on individual circuits (that is why only some sections suffered power loss)

    Read the post by Clarence Edwards.

  17. Andrew Simpson October 30, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Not surprised.
    I have some large 3 phase 400 V breakers (500 amps to 1000 amps) which I would be willing to provide, to be kept as spares in the event that existing ones fail.

  18. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar October 30, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Power outage is just one of the numerous issues confronting the QEH. The most serious issue is the dishonest Doctors , pay by the tax payers and delivering extremely poor service. How can you employ a Doctor and at the same time allow that Doctor to continue private practice ?

  19. jrsmith October 30, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I was getting ready to make some rude remarks as regarding the electrical outage at (QE) hospital, but having 100 back up generates and water damage switch gear no chance until repairs are made…
    My one issue we seems never to plan sensible and for the future, one major hospital , this spell disaster so far Barbados have been lucky , surviving the weather problems nature throws at us, we really need a state of the art hospital miles away from the city about 60% the size of the old (QE)….

  20. Jewel Rhain
    Jewel Rhain October 30, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Why are people so quick to comment a bundle of rubbish? Yes, the Q.E.H has generators, but did most people on this trend really read and comprehend the situation at hand? No, most of them only saw ‘power outage’ and came up with their baseless assumptions. Come on people it is just basic comprehension skills, use them.

  21. Harmony Chinue
    Harmony Chinue October 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Actually no… you didn’t read it right

  22. John Bremmer October 30, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Water and electricity do not make good bedfellows. And we all can appreciate,from our own home experiences , how water finds it way through the tiniest of cracks.
    QEH is fortunate to have a person of such caliber as Director of Engineering.

  23. Sparky October 30, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Before making comments it would be advisable to read such informed comments, like the one made by Clarence Edwards, and not to just jump on the condemnation band wagon.

  24. Tony Waterman October 31, 2016 at 2:20 am

    @Anne Ince, Generator(s) would NOT have solved this Particular Problem anyway, as it was an Internal Problem, with the Breakers that service that part of the Hospital, the Breaker got inundated with water leaking from the floor Above, and the generator if needed would have had to go through the Breaker anyway, which in the Instance was unusable.

    @ Maria Leclair Dasilva!!!!! would you and other “STUPID” People STOP Commenting without Reading and then COMPREHENDING what you have Read???, Backup Generator(S) would NOT have solved this Particular problem even if you had 100 of them, , how would any of you have Connected the Backup Generator without going through that SAME Breaker Switch Panel, to Connect to the Building, and you know what??? It was WATER Damaged, and Water and Electricity don’t work together at all, so it had to be Shut down and Isolated, above all the wrongs that have been done at that Institution, this was “THE RIGHT CALL”.

  25. Tony Waterman October 31, 2016 at 2:28 am

    The Mistake that was made, was Made when the Hospital was constructed in 1963-1964, the Power Plant should have been a Single floor Building separated from the Hospital. but that was the thinking then, and it has served reasonably well for quite a long time, ant htere is NOT much that can be done NOW unless they will be refurbishing the Complete Building, which i Think should be done, piece by piece. incorporating the Old General Site and the Clinic across from the Old General.

  26. jus me October 31, 2016 at 6:35 am

    QEH Director of Engineering Services, Paula Agbowu.

    Dresses like an ENGINEER.
    LOOKS like an ENGINEER.

    SO we know WHO to call when we need an ENGINEER.


    AND of course I would think the water had not been leaking in the area EVER SINCE??



  27. jus me October 31, 2016 at 7:00 am


    IT wasn,t the RIGHT call, it was the ONLY CALL.
    If the water ran in the breakers, they tripped.

    NOW if I wuz a WELL DRESSED, well made up , very sauve ,very VERY well paid,director of engineering at a Ramshackle Caribean Hospital, I would have made very carefull inspection of the most important piece of Plant I am THE ONE responsible for .

    I see NO EXPLANATION of how the FLOOD took place OR IF that area was prone to it.
    OR any other damned thing.

    When you are THE BOSS of the whole shebang, and that there shebang is ramshackle, underfunded, IGNORED, pile of scruffy blocks used by THE ENTIRE Barbados population,OF COURSE excluding POLITICIANS who get flown abroad for PROPER medical treatment, I would expect that you , as BOSS WOMAN, would be 101% on the Ball, NOT shown as tho you are just about to ATTEND ONE.

    Yes a news library picture. We all know that, but for GODS sake COULDNT one have been found showing her as what she is supposed to be.
    Our life may depend on this place soon.

    OH YES , and what were her comments on the operating table collapsing while the patient was being operated on a while back???

  28. Helicopter(8P) October 31, 2016 at 11:06 am

    For Christ our only Begotten Savior’s sake why are they not standby generators with an automated power surge cut over installed. This type of equipped standby power generation should be standard equipment in general hospitals! The ministry of health should have an annual inspection certificate blotter for the Q E H if operating at standard government procedures exist!

  29. Helicopter(8P) October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    To all the persons stating that there was a problem with a automatic shunt switch and not a generator problem, I think you should enroll in a polytechnic electrical engineering prerequisite class. Generators used as standby generators at general hospitals should have a fully functioning turnover switch to be green lighted as function-able. An army or arm forces hospital would report this condition as a Red X condition to the Inspector General!


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