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Saturday, April 17, 2021

BMC team traces rescued patients through calls, visits

Health department employees dug up details of patients from their war room data to get the phone numbers of all patients admitted in the hospital in the last few days and began calling them to get an update on their location.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
March 27, 2021 4:28:51 am
Sunrise Hospital fireMost took the staircase to come out once fire officials pointed towards it(express photo)

BMC officials from the S-Ward worked the phones through Friday while trying to trace patients who were admitted into Sunrise Hospital, as the hospital’s entire patient records were stored in a computer and could not be accessed due to the fire. In the absence of these records, the BMC had no other way to find how many people were admitted into, evacuated from, and still trapped inside the hospital.

Health department employees dug up details of patients from their war room data to get the phone numbers of all patients admitted in the hospital in the last few days and began calling them to get an update on their location. “We had a team of 10-12 health officials. They began calling on the number of each Covid patient admitted into the hospital recently,” said assistant commissioner Vibhas Achrekar. Achrekar said the hospital had no backup data or online data to access patient details. “We could not wait all day for firefighting ops to end, so as to use the computer,” he added.

The fire started at midnight. By 11 am on Friday, BMC had an update on 43 patients. Two patients had gone home and a few went to private hospital themselves. Dr Vilas Mohkar, medical officer, said they also established contact with hospitals in the ward to check if patients from Sunrise had reached there. “One problem was that people were not answering phone when we called,” Achrekar said. So based on their registered address, community health workers from different health posts were asked to visit homes to verify. By late evening, BMC was able to trace all 78 patients. Forty were admitted in six different hospitals. At least 28, aged between 30 to 80 years, had returned home after being rescued from the fire to get away from the chaos.

Lakshmi (76), Murthy Chakravarthy (80) and their son Kaushal (53) were in same ward when the fire alarm began ringing. “When we came out into corridor, there was smoke. The staff, although helpful, was quite new and did not know the exit route. The management had not trained them in firefighting in the hospital,” said Kaushal. Several patients, including the three, went to the third floor-attached terrace. “The fire brigade came and found an exit staircase. If the fire had reached the terrace, there was a lot of combustible material like cartons and several could have died,” he said.
Most took the staircase to come out once fire officials pointed towards it. The three did not want to get admitted and decided to go home. “For my old parents, the shock was too much. We did not want to move to another facility,” Kaushal said.

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