PATIENTS, visiting relatives and health workers at Valencia’s Hospital General Universitari were forced to rely on fans in an attempt to keep cool when the air conditioning system broke down over the weekend.
A fault was first reported on the third floor on Thursday, and by midday Saturday the entire building was without a working cooling system.
The fault coincided with the first severe heatwave of the summer, when temperatures of up to 40ºC were reached at several points throughout the region.
Users described the situation as ‘hell’ and ‘inhumane’, as patients returned from surgery for the post-op and required their visitors to fan them with handheld abanicos and floor fans that they had brought from home.
Although a team of technicians visited the hospital on Saturday, they were unable to complete the repairs due to a missing vital component that was not due to arrive until today (Monday).
Windows cannot be opened due to security reasons, and with the sun hitting the building all day, at night the rooms reportedly became unbearable.
But the heat is only one of their worries. Building work is currently taking place on the Avenida del Cid side of the hospital, with hydraulic hammers blasting away and adding to patients’ discomfort.
Several affected patients and relatives have announced plans to file formal complaints against the management.
In another hospital-related development this week, official figures show that admissions due to COVID are diminishing – but so is the average age of patients with complications.
Rising infection rates in the Valencia region are not being mirrored by a spike in hospital pressure or Intensive Care occupation, with the vast majority of new admissions belonging to the 35 to 50 age range.
Healthcare authorities are currently trying to decide whether or not to bring back restrictions to stem the increase in infections, or to trust personal responsibility and the advancing vaccination campaign.