6 Hour Partial Power Outage at UMC

UMC Hospital is pictured in this photograph from the April 30 Mayor's presentation announcing the hospital agreement. Detail: Situational Update April 30/coronavirus.dg.gov

On Thursday, July 23,  the United Medical Center (UMC) Hospital (1310 Southern Ave SE) experienced a limited power outage in the main hospital building lasting approximately 6 and-a-half hours.

UMC representatives said the shortage was caused due to the combination of severe weather storms and aged infrastructure.

The outage began at 8:56 p.m. UMC representatives said that the hospital’s backup generators provided necessary power until approximately 3:40 a.m. To ensure patient safety, 6 patients from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) were transferred to the Emergency Room Department and 5 patients were subsequently transferred to other District hospitals.  1 of the transferred patients was COVID positive. The transfer was assisted by DC FEMS and UMC ICU staff.

Representatives said that laboratory and radiology departments remained operational and continued to provide necessary services to the Emergency Room Department including COVID-19 test processing and x-ray services.  The hospital’s Emergency Room, Pharmacy, and Medical Office Building were not impacted by the outage, officials said.

PEPCO replaced the impacted fuses and primary and secondary transformers, restoring power at 10:14 a.m.  The hospital has completed repair of the impacted internal generators bringing the hospital power sources back to one hundred percent operational.

“We are grateful for the support of DC Health and HSEMA,: said CEO Corone Daniel. “[T]heir immediate response was integral in our ability to get backup power restored.”

“The NFPHC leadership and clinical staff will continue to put patient safety first as we weather the storms that come during the hot summer months,” Daniel concluded.

Extreme weather across the District felled trees and left hundreds without power overnight July 23.

The UMC Hospital is set to be replaced. A contract for a new hospital operated by George Washington Hospital, expected to be completed in 2024, was approved and funded by DC Council at the legislative meeting July 23.