PoS General Hospital catches fire
JENSEN LA VENDE
PATIENTS of the Northern Block and the Maternity Ward of the Port of Spain General Hospital had to be evacuated last night following a fire at the radiology department.
According to staff and patients at the hospital, the fire took place around 7 pm and by 7.30 all the patients had been removed. Newsday saw mothers and babies, still in their cots, outside the main entrance of the maternity ward waiting to be told they could return to the wards. Some patients were seen leaving the hospital after their relatives arrived to pick them up.
SWAT security officers were seen and heard congratulating themselves after they assisted in evacuated and returning patients to the wards. Hospital staff said they were trained for instances such as what happened and they were not panicked by the incident. Patients too, told Newsday that they were not, at any time, concerned for their safety as the medical staff took excellent care of them from the moment the alarm was raised to when fire officials gave the all clear.
Hospital staff said the fire began in the electrical panel of the building, however fire officials could not say what was the cause of the blaze. Last year, the following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, the hospital’s central block was evacuated and is now being demolished to make way for a new 500 bed facility. Shanghai Construction was awarded the billion-dollar contract with construction beginning in September and ending, hopefully, in two years.
Newsday spoke with both chairman of the North West Regional Health Authority Lisa Agard and CEO Wendy Ali who were at the scene. Agard said they made arrangements with the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre to send all their radiology patients there for the necessary scans and x-rays while the damage was being assessed. Ali said the hospital had in place a decanting system, established following last year’s earthquake, that was used so that all the patients on the top floor were removed in a timely and orderly manner. Both women said the extent of the damage would be assessed and the evacuation of patients was a precautionary measure. They could not say then how many patients were affected.
"PoS General Hospital catches fire"