Smartphone Surgery Proves Power Protection Need

December 14, 2016

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

Everyone's lived through a blackout at one point or another. While it's generally inconvenient, and often a significant problem at work, it can be downright disastrous in some places, like hospitals. This is why many hospitals have power protection systems like generators squarely in place, and for those that don't, like northeast Ohio's University Hospitals, sometimes necessity has to be the mother of invention.

While Joe Coughlin was having some skin cancer surgery done—a “suspicious lesion” was found on his abdomen—one of those increasingly common wild events that took out the power grid in the area happened, this time in the form of a tree branch that dropped onto a power line and took the electricity with it. The surgery had nearly finished up, but was down to the final stages of skin cauterization when the outage struck. While the cauterization device had its own power protection in a battery backup, the room's lights did not. That was when hospital staff stepped in with cell phone lights and a surgical head lamp.

This move actually gained the hospital some good press—Coughlin noted that he actually trusted his doctor more following her level-headed response to such a problem—but probably made more than a few wonder why a hospital doesn't have a power protection system in place.  Though the outage lasted a mere 43 minutes, imagine what a disaster this might have been had we been dealing with more than a simple lack of light.

Additionally, this should serve as an object lesson to businesses about the importance of power protection. We've seen power go off in clear weather more than once; a squirrel or other wildlife in a transformer, a car hits a pole, a tree branch hits a line...all of this adds up to one key point: the power grid is more fragile than any of us like to admit. Having power protection systems in place, from a simple uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system that allows users to save work and shut down a computer properly to a complete generator system that provides full backup power ,can be vital to keeping operations up and running, or at least not losing ground.

Power outages can happen at any time for a variety of reasons; it's not just the province of stormy weather. No one wants their next surgery done by smartphone light—or a day lost to a power outage—so consider power protection systems to help keep the lights on and the systems running.

Edited by Alicia Young

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