A ward boy was burnt when a boiler burst in the operation theatre of the orthopaedic ward at Civil Hospital, Sukkur on Monday.
The staff was busy preparing the theatre for an operation when the autoclave sterilser (used to sterilise instruments) exploded with a loud bang. Ghulam Qadir Lakho was burnt by the hot water and steam that spurted from the machine. He was taken to the emergency ward. Doctors said he was 30 per cent burnt but is stable for now.
A hospital official requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune that the autoclave steriliser was at least 20 years old and its pressure meter had not been working properly. “We complained to the authorities but they didn’t take any action,” he claimed. He added that the machine breaks down every now and then and a technician comes to fix it – for that time being. “The explosion was so intense that the theatre’s door and windows broke,” he said, adding that it was fortunate there were no casualties.
The operation theatre has been shut down for now.
Meanwhile, medical superintendent Dr Zulfiqar Shaikh was not too worried. He agreed that all the equipment was “as old as the hospital itself” and also that the steriliser developed faults now and then. When asked about the faulty pressure meter, he said they had repaired it recently. “Orthopaedic operations are carried out three days a week. If the meter wasn’t working properly, how could we have been operating?”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2011.