An on-call Eurobodalla emergency doctor says bats cut his phone connections each night for more than a week, putting his patients at risk.
Dr Jeet George, a GP and anesthetists who lives in Malua Bay, is often on call for emergencies at Batemans Bay and Moruya Hospitals, but has lost power to his landline and mobile phone every night for more than a week.
“When they call us, we have to be there in a hurry,” Dr George said.
“Last week, I was on call three days and the power had been out. Thankfully, there were no middle of the night calls, because when the power goes, the mobile is cutting off, as well as the land line. If there was an emergency, they wouldn’t have been able to get hold of me.”
Dr George said he had a close call at 2am on Wednesday, April 27.
“I lost power at 9pm and, by 2am, when my phone rang, thankfully, it was back on. As I was leaving the house to go to the hospital, the power went again. It was a close call,” he said.
“I had to go into Moruya Hospital.”
A back-up plan, involving the police, has been put in place for Dr George when he is on call.
“It came to head on Tuesday night. I was on call and the power went out and I lost reception, so I drove out of the area and phoned the hospital and we had a back up plan which involved the police,” he said.
“They were going to get the police to come and get me.”
Dr George has since returned to using an older model landline handset, rather than a powered unit.
“I didn’t have a plan B until this week because I never thought my mobile phone wouldn’t work in a black out,” he said.
When Dr George gets a call out, he has to be at hospital within 20 minutes, or as soon as possible for an airway issue.
“This can be a life or death situation, especially if there is an airway issue and they can’t reach me,” he said.
“If it was a cesarean situation, it could be two lives. I am frustrated.”
Dr George phoned Essential Energy about the issue, and was advised to buy a generator.
“They were aware of the issue and said it was caused by the flying foxes,” he said.
“The man on the phone said he couldn’t do anything about it. They need to find a solution. If it is the flying foxes causing the power to go out, what can we do about it?”