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Chandigarh/ PGI’s Special Committee zeroes on short circuit in UPS batteries and & no dereliction of duty as the cause of fire

Recommends plethora of measures for fire-safety including continuous & comprehensive upgradation of systems

Chemists over-charging the patients within PGIMER premises on the radar : Director PGIMER

Chandigarh : “In the wake of the massive fire that broke out in C Block of Nehru Hospital on the intervening night of 9th/10th October and another fire incident that happened in Advanced Eye Centre on 16th October, two major decisions have been taken on a war footing; one, the entire upkeep of the UPS battery systems backup has been handed over to the biomedical division and, the second, UPS batteries being identified as the hot-spot, are being shifted from the premises to safer places or at the edge of the buildings so that the smoke goes out in case of fire. Most of the work in this regard has been initiated,” stated Prof. Vivek Lal, Director PGIMER while briefing the media here in PGIMER today, about the report submitted by the constituted committee regarding the two recent fire incidents that occurred in the month of October here in PGIMER.

Other senior functionaries present during the media interaction included Kumar Gaurav Dhawan, Deputy Director (Administration) & Official Spokesperson, Prof. Vipin Koushal, Medical Superintendent, and senior faculty members and other functionaries from Engineering department of PGIMER.

“It’s nothing less than a miracle that despite a massive fire, 424 patients, mostly from ICUs and labour room, were evacuated without even a scratch to them. It goes to the credit of gritty and alert PGI team that they made the ‘unthinkable’ happen. But miracles don’t happen every time, so we have already initiated the audit of potential hot-spots and are committed to upgrade/ strengthen the number fire extinguishers, sprinklers and other latest fire fighting equipments within a timeline of clear three months to avert any such mishap.”

Further elaborating about the report, Director PGIMER stated “As per the report submitted by the constituted committee, the main cause of the massive fire in Nehru Hospital and the other in Advanced Eye Centre, has been found to be the short-circuit in UPS batteries caused by major electric fluctuation and not any dereliction of duty. However, the UPS battery backup had been inspected on 29th September, just 10 days before in Nehru Hospital and the one in the Eye Centre where the fire incident happened, was replaced only six months back. So, at this point, it is little difficult to say what exactly caused the fire, could be major electric fluctuation. But more than that, our focus has been on the restoration process and it is very gratifying to share that all services were made fully functional within 48 hours with absolutely no slackening in any of the emergency or trauma services.”

Prof. Vipin Koushal, Medical Superintendent, PGIMER detailed about the restoration process as he updated, “The fire incident happened in C block and the smoke had spread up to 4th and 5th floor, so the male medical ward females medical ward, gynae ward and labour room, private rooms, as well as bone marrow transplant centre, HDU, Respiratory ICU, Liver ICU etc. placed in 3rd, 4th and 5th floor of Nehru Hospital were evacuated within no time and shifted to safer places in either Nehru Hospital Extension or 22 area of Emergency with all the ICU facilities to ensure that patient care is not affected. The restoration process being done at herculean speed, all the patients have already been shifted back to their respective departments now.”

However, it is commendable that despite the kitchen being badly damaged in the fire, the dietaries service were started from Advanced paediatrics centre form the next day and even on the same day, the lunch was prepared at employee welfare canteen. So no service was hampered from the deities department despite a very challenging situation, ” further added Prof. Koushal.

Following this, the Director PGIMER underpinned another very pertinent issue of over-charging for medicines by some PGIMER chemists as he said, “For the patient care, we will do anything and everything. So a committee has been constituted to verify the complaints and accordingly , a suitable action will be taken against the errant chemist/s. For us at PGIMER, patient well being is supreme and we cannot tolerate any compromise on that.”