Three killed, 18 injured in Gujrat hospital roof collapse

Several warnings about condition of building had been issued by sub divisional office

Three people died in roof collapsed incident in city. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


three patients, including a woman were killed and 18 others injured in an incident of roof collapse of surgical ward of District Headquarters Hospital, Aziz Bhatti Teaching Hospital on Wednesday.

The dilapidated building, undergoing renovation for the past three months at a cost of Rs850 million, suffered a catastrophic collapse, raising questions about the safety measures in place during the construction works.

Patients were still being treated in the ward on the upper part of the aging roof when it gave way due to overloading and the removal of supporting pillars.

Rescue efforts by Rescue 1122, patient's relatives, and medical staff managed to evacuate many from the debris, but tragically, three lives were lost during the rescue operation, including a 45-year-old woman, Azmat Bibi, and Muhammad Afzal.

The injured, including hospital staff and patients, were rushed to trauma centres for treatment, with two individuals reported to be in critical condition.

Gujrat Deputy Commissioner Safdar Virk conducted an inspection of the collapsed building, expressing concern over patient safety and promising strict action against those found accountable. An inquiry committee has been formed to probe the incident and identify any lapses in safety protocols.

Hospital sources revealed that warnings about the precarious condition of the building had been issued by the Sub Divisional Office (SDO) Building, cautioning against overloading the roof with heavy concrete blocks for solar panels.

Despite these warnings, no action was taken, leading to the tragic collapse.

Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique has said strict action would be taken against those responsible for the DHQ Gujrat incident in light of the inquiry and recommendations of the inquiry committee.

The minister mentioned that a committee has been formed to determine those responsible for today's unfortunate incident and to prevent such incidents in the future.

He stated that at the district level, Deputy Commissioner Gujarat Safdar Hussain Virk, and at the provincial level, the research wing of the C&W Department is conducting a technical inquiry into the incident.On the other hand, the Health Minister and Minister for C&W expressed their condolences to the family members of Azmat Bibi, who died in the incident. They visited the injured patients and ordered their treatment on behalf of Punjab Chief Minister.

They directed the hospital administration to provide all medical facilities to the injured patients and instructed the concerned authorities to immediately repair the collapsed structure of the hospital so that treatment facilities for the public can continue without interruption.

Earlier, the district administration of Gujrat and the hospital administration gave a detailed briefing to the ministers about the incident. They inspected the collapsed ward at the site of the incident. During the briefing, the administration mentioned that repair work on the lower part of the surgical ward and the installation of solar panels on the roof were ongoing when the incident occurred.

An initial inquiry report is being compiled under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner Safdar Hussain Virk and ADCR Khizr Hayat Bhatti.

Secretary Health Punjab Ali Jan Khan, Secretary C&W Sohail Ashraf, and DPO Gujrat visited Aziz Bhatti Shaheed DHQ Hospital in Gujrat and were present on the occasion.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2024.


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