THE University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) will resume its full operations Tuesday, May 18, two days after suspending admissions due to a fire that hit a portion of its building Sunday.
The fire broke out near the hospital’s operating rooms before dawn Sunday, May 16, prompting staff and responders to evacuate the patients.
Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, the PGH medical director, said in a press briefing that the fire has not directly affected the hospital’s Covid-19 facilities, but he asked for a one-day reprieve (May 17) to prepare for the resumption of operations by Tuesday.
“Wala namang malaking epekto dahil ang ating Covid facilities ay hindi directly affected either by the flames or dependency dito sa area ng sunog,” he said.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ang ating pagtanggap ng Covid patients, pero humingi po ako ng isang araw lang na ititigil muna namin ang pagtransfer hanggat na-establize ang paglipat ng pasyente at ang amoy ng usok, kasi kahit papano ay may amoy pa rin yung mga ang wards eh, so kini-clear up pa namin yung areas na may amoy pa ng usok bago namin punuin pa ng pasyente,” he added.
He also said that as of Monday, investigation on the fire incident was ongoing, but investigators are looking into faulty electrical wiring or circuit breaker as possible cause of the blaze.
“Investigation is ongoing pa. The arson division of the Bureau of Fire Protection is working on a case but initial findings point to a possible faulty electrical wiring or circuit breaker,” Legaspi said.
He added that the sections affected include the operating and supply rooms, which serve as a support area for the hospital’s more than 300 operating rooms on its third floor.
“Hindi naman sya malaking area, pero isang malaking vital operations. So natigil po ang operations for rooms that depend on this area,” he said.
He said about 30 babies were earlier evacuated from the building’s fourth floor, and some of them were transferred to Sta. Ana Hospital due to their sensitive conditions.
Some of the babies, though, have already returned to their nursery and pediatric wards, he added.
He said the smoke from the fire reached the seventh floor of the hospital building, prompting them to also move about 34 Covid-19 patients to the new emergency room that was converted into a temporary Covid-19 area.
As of Monday, though, the patients have also returned to their respected wards, Legaspi said.
He added that the Department of Public Works and Highways has already sent personnel to look into the structural integrity of the hospital building in preparation for the repair of the area damaged by the fire.
“Kukumpletohin pa po ang analysis. There are questions on structural integrity, but malaki pong pasalamat namin sa maagang intervention ng ating mga secretaries para macorrect ang structural questions,” he said.
The PGH has also called for donations, such as food and water, for its patients and personnel.
The PGH is a government hospital that serves more than 500,000 patients a year, mostly indigent. (Laureen Mondoñedo-Ynot/SunStar Philippines)