LAHORE: A woman died while eight others, including doctors, paramedics and patients, suffered minor injuries when a fire erupted in the operation theatre of the multi-storey emergency ward building of the Services Hospital here on Saturday.
As per hospital sources, the fire broke out first in the changing room and then spread to the part of operation theatre where two patients were undergoing surgeries.
The emergency ward was full of patients, their attendants and hospital employees when the fire broke out, they said.
Witnesses said the dense smoke filled the entire emergency ward, threatening lives of the patients who were on oxygen and in a serious condition.
One of the patients, Shamim Bibi (50), died when she was being rushed out of the ward to save her life.
They said some people were seen dragging beds with patients who were being given oxygen.
The deceased woman’s relatives claimed that she died when her oxygen supply got suspended while being shifting out of the ward.
However, the hospital’s management strongly denied that her death had anything to do with the fire episode.
The witnesses further claimed that the condition of four other patients got critical because of the dense smoke in the ward and a stampede-like situation caused by the fire.
Meanwhile, the fire-fighting squad of Rescue 1122 reached the spot along with 40 personnel and special vehicles. The firefighters extinguished the blaze after an hour-long efforts.
According to them the fire erupting in the operation theatre of the hospital’s emergency ward was not so intense.
Services Hospital head Prof Dr Mahmood Ayaz told Dawn the fire broke out at 11:25am, “most probably because of a short circuit”. He said the administration immediately called the Rescue 1122 firefighters who extinguished the blaze.
He said he himself reached the emergency ward along with other officials and supervised the evacuation process.
“Because of the dense smoke that filled the place immediately, the patients were evacuated from the medical, surgical emergency units and operation theatre and shifted to the surgical ICU, surgical unit-I, surgical special unit, medical unit-I and IV,” Prof Ayaz said.
He said the healthcare workers and two doctors who got sick because of inhaling excessive smoke were later admitted to the surgical unit-I where they were examined by pulmonologists and provided treatment.
The damage assessment was going on, he added.
He said electric supply to the building had been restored after completion of wiring repair work, while repair of oxygen piping and compressor was underway.
“Once the oxygen supply is restored to the satisfaction of our biomedical engineer, the emergency will be restored,” the principal said.
Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2020