Hospital's terrifying blackout blamed on blunders that never should have happened

The Royal Adelaide Hospital’s terrifying blackout was the result of a string of blunders that shouldn’t have happened.

Two reports have found alarm systems were ignored and the wrong person gave the all clear for surgery to resume.

Hospital surgery was plunged into darkness in February, putting patients lives at risk, all because a routine maintenance test of back-up generators failed.

This happened because a fuel tank had run out of diesel.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network chief executive officer Jenny Richter says staff responded to problems quickly. Source: 7 News

Central Adelaide Local Health Network chief executive Jenny Richter said: “There will always be from time to time in any hospital failures that happen.”

The two major reports into the 16-minute blackout are damning, as alarms warning of the low fuel in both supply tanks were ignored for days, even on the day of the incident.

There was no attempt to rectify the fault or abort the testing.

“What went really well was the fact that our staff were able to respond,” Ms Richter told 7 News.

But things got worse.

A computer software system reconnecting the hospital to mains power also failed during that panic period.

Royal Adelaide Hospital suffered a 16-minute blackout in February. Source: AAP

Once power was restored an unqualified contractor initially gave the all clear to resume surgery rather than the incident commander.

“We need to be assured these safety back-ups are in place to allow us to safely perform procedures,” Australian Medical Association Associate Professor William Tam said.

Former health minister Peter Malinauskas said if something went wrong those responsible needed to be held to account.