Rajawadi patients feel the heat as AC ducts get repaired

May 02, 2012, 07:22 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

While the main OT has been shut for the past three weeks for maintenance work, a recent fire in the trauma unit's OT has brought planned operations to a halt; patients told to come back later or extend stay

Ghatkopar folks in need of surgery would do well to stay away from Rajawadi Hospital till the first week of May. Around 25-30 planned weekly surgeries at the civic-run hospital in Ghatkopar (E) have been put on hold after a minor fire broke out in the air-conditioning duct of the operation theatre (OT) in the building’s trauma unit, in the wee hours of April 25. To make matters worse, the main OT is also shut, being under repairs for almost three weeks now.

Traumatic: The recent fire in one of four air-conditioners installed in the operation theatre of Rajawadi hospital’s trauma unit has crippled all the surgeries planned for patients in the male and female surgical wards. File pic

According to hospital sources, the fire was caused by a short circuit, which was spotted in one of the four air conditioners installed in the OT. Thick black smoke started billowing out of the ward, alerting hospital staff, who used fire extinguishers to prevent the fumes from spreading. The incident has crippled all the surgeries planned for patients in the male and female surgical wards.

“The surgical department at the hospital is headed by three unit heads, and on an average 4 to 5 planned endocrine and oncology surgeries are being put on hold,” said a doctor, on condition of anonymity. The doctor added that at present, they are being forced to operate on emergency cases in the gynaecological OT, located on the third floor of the hospital. Doctors are worried that they may not be equipped to handle mass casualties in the event of a catastrophe. “We won’t be able to handle mass emergency cases, wherein surgical intervention is a must,” the doctor mentioned.

Admitting to the problem, a senior doctor said, “As per routine practice, the ducts have been replaced every 15 years, and while we have already changed the ducts in the orthopaedic, ophthalmology and even gynaecological OTs, the main OT has not yet been touched.” Prakash Wani, a social activist, said, “It is unfortunate that poor patients who need to be operated upon are being told to extend their hospital stay or come back later. I will discuss the matter with the medical superintendent.”

Dr Subhash Poyekar, the newly appointed medical superintendent, confirmed the postponement of surgeries. He told MiD DAY, “The rewiring work at the trauma OT has already been completed, and within a day or two, fumigation and swab reports will be received, and it will be operational. The main OT will be functional only after the AC technicians are satisfied with the reducting work that they have done. It should be completed by the first week of May.”  

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