HYDERABAD: A huge fire erupted at the north block of Gandhi Hospital triggering panic among patients, attendants and staff in the morning hours of Wednesday. However, no casualties were reported with the timely action of the hospital staff, fire brigade and the police.
Fire brigade officials reached within 15 to 20 minutes and doused the fire but the electricity supply could not be restored and there is still no power till the fourth floor of the north block.
Evacuation of more than 200 patients had to be carried out as there were mothers with newborn babies and pregnant women. The first floor had paediatrics and orthopaedic wards. These patients were escorted out in the open area for a half-an-hour along with their attendants. Each patient has two attendants with them. With the help of police, fire brigade officials and nursing staff moved the patients out and then shifted them to the south block.
On the second floor, there were acute cases of Covid-19 of which some were on ventilators and they were shifted directly to the emergency block. Later, they were moved to the in-patient areas in the south block. On the third floor, there were intensive care unit patients and they were also moved out to the south block.
The fourth floor is an ENT block with patients suffering from black fungus and neurology patients. They were moved to the in-patient department. The fourth floor also has a pathology and microbiology department.
Gandhi Hospital beds are full and there are a total of 1,200 patients in the hospital. It took time for the staff to adjust and create space for extra patients from one block to another.
RMOs and junior and senior doctors were pressed into service to shift the patients smoothly without creating a hassle.
Fire started in the north block of Gandhi Hospital on the ground floor near the ante-natal and labour wards. It started from the electric supply room and it went up to the first, second and the third floor vertically along the electric cables.
Excess load on electricity supply due to the operation of 500 ventilators in the hospital is considered as the reason for the short circuit that occurred in Gandhi Hospital at 7.20 am on Wednesday, according to sources.
A short circuit in the electrical panel boards is said to have led to the fire. Fire brigade officials said there was a voltage fluctuation in the panel board which resulted in fire. “We immediately rushed a fire tender and it took us about 20 minutes to douse the flames and get the situation under control,” said an official from the fire department. The damage estimation in the mishap is reportedly under assessment. “We were told that the management will be replacing wiring and restoring electricity in the block where the mishap was reported,” added the official.
There was an electric box which was lying on the floor in the electric supply room. Alert resident medical officers (RMO) on the ground floor switched off the main power supply as the fire started and called the fire brigade. The RMOs also alerted the nursing staff and doctors as there were attendants sleeping in corridors and smoke engulfed the three floors. There was a major hue and cry in the corridors and complete darkness in all the three floors as the power was shut down.
The Telangana State Medical Services and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TSMSIDC) officials are checking the electric cables and what has gone wrong. Office of the superintendent, resident medical officers on the ground floor and wards till fourth floor have been shut for safety purposes.
Dr Raja Rao, superintendent of the hospital says, "Mock drills and training to our staff by the fire department helped as they were aware of the safety protocols. There has not been any injury and all the patients, their attendants and staff are safe."
Director of health and medical education Dr Ramesh Reddy also visited the hospital and gave instructions to the administration and doctor's team.
The TSMSIDC officials are assessing the cause and also re-establishing the damaged cables to start electric current in the ward. According to sources, it will take time, as the cables have been burnt till the fourth floor.
The building has eight floors and there are patients from the fifth floor to the eighth floor....