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‘You could hear them screaming.’ Visitors say hourslong blackout at Vassar Brothers Medical Center frightened patients

A component that feeds electricity to the pavilion needed to be replaced, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Blaise Gomez

Jun 7, 2024, 4:29 PM

Updated 13 days ago

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An hourslong power outage Thursday at Vassar Brothers Medical Center caused some frightening moments for patients and their loved ones, as more than a dozen of the Poughkeepsie hospital’s most critical patients were evacuated.
The incident began around 1:30 p.m. inside Vassar Brothers’ new, state-of-the-art Patient Pavillion, according to a hospital representative. They say an electrical component malfunction caused the outage and that the generator kicked on at first, but that later, the facility experienced a full loss of power.
“The lights started flickering on and off, half the lights went out and then all of a sudden, everything just went out,” says James Quigley, whose wife is a patient. Quigley says patients were scared during evacuations.
“Elderly people, you could hear them screaming,” Quigley recalls. “The only lights that were there were the exit lights.”
The incident prompted a massive emergency response as the hospital says 13 of its most critically sick patients had to be transported to several area hospitals and arriving patients were diverted to other facilities.
Quigley says rescuers also had to help someone stuck in an elevator during the outage. A representative for the hospital says it is unaware of the circumstance and said to contact the Poughkeepsie Fire Department. News 12 left a message for the fire department but didn’t immediately receive a response.
After the incident, several loved ones with patients in the hospital complained on social media that the new building has experienced on-and-off loss of power for days. Vassar Brothers confirms that the electrical problems first began on May 22.
“It’s been going on for several nights now,” says one visitor who has a friend in the hospital. “It was frightening.”
So far, there is no word on if changes will be made to prevent the emergency from happening again.
Vassar Brothers says the power was restored by 11 p.m. on Thursday and that the facility is now once again operating as usual.


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