NASSAU – Clean-up efforts are underway at the Rand Memorial Hospital following Friday’s fire and some of the evacuated patients are now back in the hospital.
Health Minister Dr Duane Sands reported that 20 of the 48 patients transferred to the Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King were returned to the hospital by 2am Saturday, and the other 28 were discharged by their attending physicians.
Of the 11 patients taken to Sunrise Medical Centre, eight remain there. According to Dr Sands, two of the ICU patients were airlifted to Nassau on Friday evening.
“I have been informed that even with the challenges of a fire in the hospital, our OB/GYN Department reported that a patient who began labour at our hospital gave birth to a healthy baby boy at Sunrise Medical Centre,” he said extending congratulations to the parents.
A physician who suffered from mild smoke inhalation has now recovered and returned to active duty at the hospital.
During a press conference at 2pm Sunday at the hospital, Dr Sands brought the media up to date on the cleanup and recovery efforts, which include plans of outsourcing the services of the kitchen.
“We can now confirm the initial report that most of the damage was limited to the kitchen area. Other areas significantly impacted by smoke include medical, surgical, obstetric and paediatric wards, the cafeteria, and the intensive care unit (ICU). Clean-up of those areas will be completed today,” he said.
Dr Sands indicated plans are now at an advanced stage to restore the kitchen to meet the onsite dietary needs of patients and staff.
In the meantime, he noted that discussions are underway to determine the comparative cost of outsourcing the services of the kitchen given that a new state of the art kitchen and cafeteria is under construction.
Minister Sands said an estimate of the damage is still not known as officials are in the process of defining the scope of work, and determining the relative cost.
“The construction of the new hospital cafeteria complex is well on the way, and we anticipate being able to move into the facility by year’s end. So as we are determining the amount of electrical and structural repairs required in the kitchen, it becomes very important to compare that potential investment to what it would cost to continue outsourcing food preparation and cooking elsewhere,” he explained.
He commended acting hospital administrator Sandra Mortimer-Russell, the executive management committee, and staff of the Rand Memorial Hospital “for averting what could have been a far more serious event” on Friday.
“I am indeed proud and grateful for a job well done,” he said.
At 2.30pm on Friday a blaze erupted the hospital’s kitchen after a deep fryer caught fire. Patients and staff were immediately evacuated. Some 48 patients were taken to the Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King Church’s Foster Pestaina Centre and 11 patients to the Sunrise Medical Centre.
Dr Sand said the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority are grateful to the organizations that partnered with them to accommodate their patients. The Accident and Emergency & Urgent Care Centre remain open 24 hours at the RMH for emergencies only.
He said that the Outpatient Specialty Clinic at Pearce Plaza, Coral Road, is open 24 hours for non-urgent cases, as well as at the Eight Mile Rock Community Clinic. Pharmacy services are also available at the 24-hour sites for filling prescriptions.