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, according to a statement issued by the hospital.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia took stock of the situation in the affected part of the hospital and also 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 prominent leaders have been visiting the hospital for the past few days to check on his health.
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, 32 patients were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The AIIMS administration has initiated an internal inquiry to look into the cause of the fire and further strengthen preventive measure, the statement added.
"The hospital area has not been affected by the fire and there has been no casualty. As a precautionary measure, the AIIMS administration had shifted patients from AB wing of the hospital to other areas of the hospital. These patients have been shifted back to their respective wards in the AB wing," the statement said.
The hospital, including the emergency department and emergency laboratories, is fully functional, it added. 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.
The AIIMS director is holding a meeting with all heads of the departments and administrative staff to assess the situation for full restoration of laboratory services as soon as possible so that patient care does not suffer, the statement said.
"AIIMS has a regular fire prevention system. There are fire personnel deployed round-the-clock with fire fighting safety systems being regularly tested including clearance of fire exits and corridors. Awareness of fire fighting systems among staff is conducted regularly," the statement added.
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 IPC has been registered against unidentified persons, the police said.