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Ceiling collapse at The Princess Alexandra Hospital: A Close Call in the ICU

Ceiling collapse at The Princess Alexandra Hospital: A Close Call in the ICU

In a harrowing incident at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, a section of the ceiling in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) gave way, narrowly missing a critically ill patient. The event, which occurred on Thursday, has been declared a major incident by the hospital trust.

The patient, who was on life support at the time, was intubated and, by fortune, remained unharmed despite the debris that fell around them. The collapse is said to have been caused by medical equipment detaching from its fitting, prompting immediate action from the hospital staff and emergency services.

Sharon McNally, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at the trust, addressed the incident with a statement of reassurance:

"We can confirm that an incident took place in our ICU on 14 March, where medical equipment detached from its fitting. No one was harmed as a result of the incident," she said.

McNally emphasized the precautionary measures taken, including the evacuation of the ICU to assess and secure the fittings for other medical equipment in the area.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Services were quick to respond, ensuring the scene was made safe for patients and staff. The hospital's emergency department and other facilities have remained open and operational.

This incident comes on the heels of previous building issues at the hospital, including a series of sewage leaks last year that prompted calls for funding to build a new hospital.

The Department for Health and Social Care has acknowledged these concerns and is reportedly working with the trust on plans for a new facility.

The trust has expressed gratitude towards healthcare partners for their support during this time and has committed to a thorough investigation to prevent such incidents in the future and ensure patient safety.

The close call in the ICU has highlighted the importance of infrastructure integrity in healthcare settings, sparking conversations about the need for modernization and the prioritization of patient and staff safety in hospital design and maintenance.