After 26/11, Mumbai hospitals gearing up to tackle emergencies | india | Hindustan Times
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After 26/11, Mumbai hospitals gearing up to tackle emergencies

india Updated: May 24, 2009 15:17 IST

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Drawing lessons from the 26/11 terror strikes, hospitals in the city are equipping themselves to deal with emergency situations, an area in which they were found deficient during the attacks.

Six months after the attacks, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has been entrusted with the task of emergency planning and gearing up both private and government hospitals to tackle man-made and natural emergency conditions.

Apart from grappling with the problem of huge patient intake in municipal and government hospitals, MCGM is giving emphasis to safe building structures, escape routes, evacuation areas, fire-fighting facilities and security of patients and doctors in the event of an attack, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kishore Gajbhiye said.

Lessons learnt from the 26/11 attack on Cama hospital in South Mumbai which was seized by the two terrorists -- one of being Ajmal Kasab who was later captured alive -- will be incorporated in the emergency planning, he said.

The corporation is also trying to promote shared responsibilities with private hospitals during emergencies and a good network system has been established, Gajbhiye said.

Dr Sanjay Oak, Director of Medical Education and Research and Dean KEM Hospital of MCGM, said that KEM will have a cluster of multi-storeyed hospital buildings having quake-proof and lightning-proof features.

There would be close-circuit TV and evacuation systems, Oak said.

The first 21-storeyed hospital building, which is under construction, will be ready by December 2010 or March 2011.

Restoration of the heritage building housing the college in KEM hospital premises is also being carried out to improve the safety conditions for the patients during normal as well during emergency conditions, Oak said.

"We are also insisting on crowd management in the existing hospital structure. CCTVs installed in the hospital after 26/11 attacks have helped to nab thieves," he said.

KEM hospital manages 1,800 in-patients, 5,500 outpatients and 20,000 visitors daily.

Dr Gustad Daver, Medical Director of P D Hinduja Hospital said there was a need for collective responsibility of the hospitals in the city.

During emergencies, distribution of patients to private hospitals has become a reality after serial train bomb blasts in 2006 and 26/11 to reduce the burden on the state-owned hospitals, but this practice should continue, he said.

Some doctors and building experts suggested that efforts should be made to decongest hospitals by staggered arrangement for visitors and patients' relatives.