UPDATE, Karachi...Power Crisis Continues; Civil Hospital Plunges Into Darkness

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Title: Civil Hospital Plunges into Darkness

By our correspondent

May 3, 2000

KARACHI: Yet another power crisis caught Civil Hospital, Karachi, off-guard on Tuesday, leaving the century-old biggest teaching hospital of the province, with over 1700 beds, without electricity. The break-down occurred 7-0-clock in the evening after the hospital's switch board at the medical ward went off with a bang. However no casualty was reported.

According to eyewitnesses, the switch board at the junction of medical and surgical wards, after emitting sparks for a while, caught fire and later went off with a bang. As a result, the whole building plunged into darkness. "Luckily some of stewards switched off the main supply at the sub-station soon after the fire incident, warding off further chances of any untoward incident," the CHK's additional medical superintendent, Dr Kalim Butt, told The News.

With the fire incident and subsequent wire burning, virtually 70 per cent sections of the hospital were denied electricity. Power failure hit ENT wards I and II, Surgical Ward IV, Medical V, Orthopaedic units I and II, Paediatrics Ward I and II, Cardiac Surgery Ward, Isolation and Psychiatry wards.

With majority of the patients admitted there into the hospital's cavernous structure, the power failure added to the misery of the anguished patients and their attendants. Several beds having their patients were taken out into the open in a bid to get a whiff of fresh air with the fans in the wards having gone off for lack of power. "Some of the patients in acute suffering and recovering stages are hard hit with such power failure. Some of intensive and coronary care units have their own generators but not any ward. This is obviously a hard time for the poor patients," a doctor on duty at the orthopaedic ward remarked.

The latest power failure and fire incident was attributed to the decaying electrical wiring at the hospital. "We have about 50 years old wiring while even the transformers provided to our sub-station are unable to carry the load required by the hospital. Such a shortfall rendered the hospital without electricity for more than 18 hours last week," a paramedic informed.

According to sources, the CHK is provided electricity from Baba-i-Urdu Road and Chand Bibi Road sub-stations. A short-circuit had occurred in the earlier sub-station denying the electricity to the CHK on April 27. The only generator of 48KVA installed at the hospital could not generate power for more than 15 hours at a stretch. "We need another power generator to restore supply to all important sections of the hospital in such situation. As far as today's failure is concerned even PWD did not advise hospital administration to go with faulty wires," explained one doctor at the CHK's casualty department.

According to the Public Works Department's (PWD) electrical engineer Iqbal Qureshi, power supply to majority of the wards and sections of the hospital would be restored by midnight whereas the replacement of burnt wires at medical and surgical wards could be a night-long process.

According to the CHK's top management, the KESC had offered the government-run CHK to get new transformer as per its exact power demand to avoid future power breakdown for long period. "At present the power supply system is cited to be overloaded from both ends making power failure a frequent feature. We have entered into an exercise with the help of PWD staff to assess our own demand and requirement of power supply and its flow to every ward," Dr Butt said.



-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), May 03, 2000


It seems like Karachi is in the news just about every day with some new, terrible tragedy.

-- LillyLP (lillyLP@aol.com), May 04, 2000.

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