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AIIMS fire: Hospital functional, patients shifted back to wards

Last updated on: August 18, 2019 21:18 IST

IMAGE: Smoke billows out after a fire broke out at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Saturday evening. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

A day after a massive fire broke out on its premises, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences was fully functional on Sunday and all patients, who were shifted out as a precautionary measure, were taken back to their respective wards, hospital authorities said.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the situation at the premier health facility on Sunday morning and directed the hospital administration to conduct a comprehensive special fire audit.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia also took stock of the situation in the affected part of the hospital and enquired about the health of former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre that is housed in a different building of the AIIMS complex.

Jaitley, who was admitted on August 9, has been on life support system. Several top leaders have been visiting the hospital for the past few days to check on his health.

The AIIMS administration has also initiated an internal inquiry to look into the cause of the fire and further strengthen preventive measure, the statement added.

 

The fire started around 5 pm on Saturday from the Microbiology department and thick plumes of smoke billowed from the building, triggering panic and affecting the emergency services. According to officials, patients were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The fire engulfed several offices in the department of surgery, urology, dermatology, microbiology and ortho and lot of research data, samples and manuscripts were destroyed, a source said.

"I reviewed the situation after the fire at AIIMS yesterday. The hospital area has not been affected by the fire and there has been no loss or damage to life. As a precautionary measure, administration had shifted the patients from AB wing of the hospital to other areas of the hospital," Vardhan said.

The patients have now been shifted back to their respective wards in the AB wing. The hospital, along with the emergency department and emergency laboratories, are fully functional now, he said.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria held a meeting with heads of the departments and administrative staff to review patient care services, according to a statement issued by the AIIMS.

A committee has been set up to restore full functionality of services affected in the PC teaching block, it said.

It was decided that outpatient (OPD) and emergency services will continue to run normally. Operation theatres (OTs) will be functional and the scheduled surgeries will be performed, the statement said.

According to Delhi Fire Service officials, the building was constructed before 1983 when construction norms came into force. They said the building had fire fighting measures in place.

Meanwhile, the open round of counselling for admission to AIIMS MBBS-2019 has been rescheduled from August 20 and 21 to August 26 and 27, the hospital authorities said.

‘Considering the large number of candidates and guardians participating in the open round of counselling for MBBS, 2019 under the prevailing circumstances, it has been decided by the competent authority that for adequate arrangement and ensuring safety, it has been rescheduled from Aug 20 and Aug 21 to August 26 and 27,’ a notice issued by the AIIMS read.

Sources said irrespective of Saturday being a holiday, all doctors worked tirelessly from 6 pm onwards to ensure that patients were not hassled, and even on Sunday, everyone was present on the ground.

Police said they were awaiting reports from the fire department and forensics that will help ascertain the cause of the fire.

A case of negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter under section 285 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against unidentified persons, the police said.

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