A woman bikes in front of San Francisco General Hospital
San Francisco General Hospital

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is still without power after yesterday’s storms. Though the hospital has a robust generator system and is still providing emergency services, some clinics and labs have lost power altogether. Doctors have been advised to reschedule all elective outpatient surgeries and procedures, while researchers scramble to save temperature-sensitive samples.

Mission Local obtained inter-office emails regarding the loss of power and contingency plans to save perishable materials.

“Ongoing power outages in several buildings at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital have left approximately 170 freezers containing specimens without power at this time,” according to the email, sent today by UC San Francisco emergency operations. “Current estimates from PG&E indicate that power will not be restored for several hours.”

“Once you open the freezer, the temperature goes way up, very quickly,” said a researcher on the hospital campus, whose samples must be kept frozen.

“Just opening it can mess things up, so you have to decide whether to wait it out and hope it doesn’t go too low, or to find an alternative place to move it.”

Researchers have been instructed to keep all freezers closed until power is restored. The labs have a limited amount of dry ice, to cool specimens at immediate risk, and are expecting a delivery of more dry ice later this afternoon.

“The hospital remains open for all critical services, including trauma, the emergency department, and urgent care,” according to a statement from General Hospital. “Some non-urgent medical appointments and procedures may be rescheduled.”

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Christina A. MacintoshReporting Intern

Christina grew up in Brooklyn and moved to the Bay in 2018. She studied Creative Writing and Earth Systems at Stanford.

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