Expert slams SGPGI authorities for tampering with original design - Hindustan Times
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Expert slams SGPGI authorities for tampering with original design

By, Lucknow
Dec 21, 2023 08:36 AM IST

“Originally the building wasn’t a sealed-one as is the case now. Back then, it had open corridors that allowed fresh air,” says architect KK Asthana, who supervised the construction of the institute’s building.

Two days after a fire claimed two lives, including that of a child, inside operation theatre at the premier Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), architect KK Asthana, who supervised the construction of the institute’s building slammed those who altered the original design.

Expert slams SGPGI authorities for tampering with original design (File)
Expert slams SGPGI authorities for tampering with original design (File)

“Originally the building wasn’t a sealed-one as is the case now. Back then, it had open corridors that allowed fresh air. The building had numerous entry and exit points then but subsequently the administrators opted for closing down several entry and exit points for central air conditioning. The need is to revert to the same design to allow for an emergency,” Asthana who also designed High Court building said.

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“As of now, the PGI has only two ramps and two staircases for evacuating patients in case of fire in the building that has nine floors. Since lifts are not allowed in an emergency, the hospital authorities need to opt for open corridors. This is important since the safety of people is a must,” he said.

“Before altering the original design, the institute should have consulted experts. The entire building is packed and had experts been consulted, they would have surely advised for an emergency exit plan,” he added.

There have been 8 cases of fire incidents on the SGPGI campus over the past 15 years, the latest being on December 18, that claimed two lives including that of a child, inside an operation theatre.

Fire department officials who rushed to the PGI to put out the fire admitted that they had a tough time.

“We had to save the lives of both patients and attendants. There were no markers and signs to guide the patients and attendants towards the exit from the wards,” said one of them. This official admitted that there was no proper “exit plan.”

A senior SGPGI doctor admitted that the present design of the building isn’t right.

“There aren’t enough exit points and the fact that the entire hospital is virtually packed or sealed increased the danger, more so because the institute is always full of patients and attendants,” he added.

This is not the first fire incident on campus. But no lessons have been learnt from previous incidents. What happened to inquiry committee reports that were ordered then,” this doctor asked.

SGPGI director professor RK Dhiman said: “A high level inquiry has been ordered. Once the report is before us we will implement the suggestions made by the committee.”

The cause of death of 26-year-old Taiyyaba was due to burning while the one-month-old boy who also died in the PGI fire was due to excessive bleeding. The results were revealed in a post-mortem examination of both the deceased, said a person in the know of the examination inferences. However, when efforts were made to confirm this with PGI SHO Brijesh Chandra Tiwari, he denied saying he is yet to get the copy of the PM report.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anupam Srivastava is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Lucknow. Has produced exclusive stories in medical, civil aviation, civic, political and other issues for over 20 years.

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