PGH eyes reopening this week after Sunday fire incident

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The Philippine General Hospital says it hopes to open its doors to the public again this week after a fire incident early Sunday morning.

“I was talking to the director this morning and hopefully hindi naman masyado matagal ang [it won’t be too long of a] suspension,” PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ New Day regarding their surgeries. “Maybe for the next 24 to 48 hours, we should be able to resume operations."

Surgery is among the main pillars of the state-run hospital — also a major COVID-19 referral hospital in the country — and it really needs to operate on patients infected with the said disease, he added.

Del Rosario also noted that the sterilization area, which houses the items PGH uses for its surgical operations like instruments, linens and machines, was where the fire started. He said the full extent of damage to the hospital is still being evaluated.

Ang maganda [The good thing] is the rooms are okay, they are intact. It's the instruments that we have to check and today hopefully we can have an inventorial of what have we lost, what do we have, can we really function and still offer our specialized services,” the PGH official further explained.

In a Palace briefing later in the day, PGH Director Dr. Gap Legaspi said a probe is currently underway, and that the Bureau of Fire Protection arson division is working on the case.

Pero ang paglalahad ng mga pangyayari points to a possible faulty electrical wiring or circuit breaker. Wala pa pong final, pero 'yun po ang initial na findings ng ating mga imbestigador, said Legaspi.

[Translation: But the recounting of events points to a possible faulty electrical wiring or circuit breaker. Nothing is final yet, but those are the initial findings of our investigators.]

Legaspi said there are also questions regarding the structural integrity of the state-run hospital, hence the need for Department of Public Works and Highways specialists to inspect it immediately.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque likewise assured it is the DPWH’s “top priority” to repair damage incurred by the PGH from the fire. 

Del Rosario said the hospital also asked permission from the government to suspend its emergency room services “at least for today” so patients can be accepted again “hopefully by tomorrow.”

He likewise expressed happiness over the inpour of donations to the health facility both from the public and private sector, including linens and pillows as well as breast milk for their infant patients.

“There (was) also a call for food yesterday and now our Dietary [Department] has resumed its operation. I think we are okay,” he said.