Patients at KEM Hospital were put through a spirit-dampening ordeal after the casualty ward built just four months ago at the cost of Rs 3.2 crore witnessed major water leakage after the air conditioning system went bust.
While the maintenance team only turned up the next day, the hospital staff tried to control the damage (circled) by placing buckets under the leaks
For two days, visitors were forced to deal with the sweltering heat and the constant stream of water dripping from the ceiling, while the administration did little apart from placing buckets under the leaks. The maintenance team did not even turn up to examine the problem until the next evening, when they estimated it would take another 24 hours to fix the fault.
The swanky 20,800-sq ft casualty ward was inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on November 18, last year. According to sources, the air conditioning stopped working around 2 pm on April 1, and within a few hours, parts of the ceiling began to leak.
The leaks were situated in the waiting area outside ward 20A and within ward 20, which houses the Emergency Paediatric Room (EPR). As all paediatric emergency cases are attended there and then shifted to the other paediatric wards according to the line of treatment, there was a long queue of patients and family members who had to pass the wet area.
Many patients complained about the water and the doctors responded saying they had told the authorities about the issue. However, the maintenance team did not take a look at the problem till the next evening, around 6 pm. “Even though they have spent so much to build the ward, the air conditioning has broken down and the ceiling is leaking.
A section of the ceiling - about one square foot - kept leaking. No one took any concrete steps other than keeping a bucket there for the water,” said Jainul Khambata, who had taken his 6-year-old daughter there for a check up.
Dr R R Shinde, professor and head of the Preventive and Social Medicine Department said yesterday that the situation would be brought under control in 24 hours.
“We have already asked our sub-engineers to work on it. The central air conditioning system works 24X7, and it’s possible that the heat had some part to play in the fault.
We are working on the queue management in ward 20, where the ceiling is leaking. There is no negligence on the part of anybody; this is just a technical glitch,” said Shinde.