Amid flames, panic and chaos at the Valley's premiere 500-bed maternity hospital on Tuesday night, the doctors ensured 10 normal and 20 caesareans births in the night.
A major fire broke out in the hospital's out-patient department around 9:30pm. It soon engulfed the entire structure with
flames touching the other blocks full of patients recuperating after surgeries.
Eighteen fire tenders were engaged to douse the flames, which were not subsiding for at least two hours.
"We carried our pregnant sisters on the shoulders. I saw attendants shifting the operated patients to the open ground. Many serious patients were shifted from the hospital along with drip kits. It was total chaos,"said an eyewitness.
Many newborns were also rushed out in the open despite the chill and locals too lend help to ensure safety of the patients. Several wards were emptied and patients shifted to other blocks. The government too was mulling to shift serious patients to nearby government hospitals in case the fire had spread to other blocks.
State minister for medical education Taj Mohiuddin on Wednesday flew from winter capital Jammu to Srinagar in the morning to assess the situation.
"Despite the fire, 10 normal and 20 caesareans births were conducted at the hospital,"said Mohiuddin.
The government claimed it did not allow fire to hamper work at the Valley's biggest maternity hospital with inflow from both north and south Kashmir districts.
"Around 86 new admissions were done during the last 24 hours. Of them, 25 during the night itself after the fire incident,"said the minister.
He said the hospital staff put in their best efforts in saving patients and kept the operation theatres, labour rooms and laboratories open to patients.
The fire, which left a few fire service personnel injured, did not inflict any casualty. However, lack of fire-fighting mechanism at the city hospitals have come under scanner once again.
"Most of the hospitals in Kashmir valley lack fire-fighting equipment," admitted the minister. "All the new coming up hospitals would be equipped with fire-fighting system."
An internal probe has been ordered to know the cause of fire. "Samples have been sent to the forensic laboratory to know the cause of fire,"said the minister.
The minister commended the role of doctors during the crisis. "Nurses took great care of the women patients. I can tell you their role was commendable,"he added.
He expressed his satisfaction that the hospital records, drug store and other stocks were safe and no one was injured.
Minister for rural development and panchayati raj Ali Mohammad Sagar also took stock of the situation at the hospital on Tuesday night.
"A foolproof fire fighting system has been put in place to ensure that the spread of these types of incident are controlled,"he said.
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