With fire out, PGH moves newborns, pedia patients to other hospitals

The government-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH) transferred 12 newborn babies and several other pedriatic patients to nearby hospitals after fire broke out in its central block early Sunday morning, May 16.

Speaking to DZBB roughly two hours after the fire was extinguished at 5:41 am, PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas del Rosario said PGH had to transfer 12 newborn babies to the nearby Sta. Ana Hospital to make sure the young patients would still be kept under the nursery's necessary controlled conditions.

Several pedia patients were also moved to private hospitals upon their request. Ospital ng Maynila Director Dr. Karl Laqui said two patients were transferred to their hospital for appendectomy.

Del Rosario said the fire started at the Operating Room Sterilization Area on the third floor of PGH’s central block building, where paying patients of the state-run hospital were admitted. Charity or non-paying patients were not affected as their area was far from the fire.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, and there are no reported casualties or injuries so far.

A hospital staff member tried but failed to stop the flames using a fire extinguisher, so Del Rosario said the staff evacuated along with the rest of the central block occupants. 

Patients infected with the coronavirus who were staying at the central block were immediately evacuated to the intensive care unit of PGH’s charity ward and the OB department’s emergency room. 

"We secured them there and we made sure they were not able to mingle with our non-COVID patients," Del Rosario said in Filipino.

Other affected patients were evacuated to the open areas within the PGH complex, including the hospital’s corridors on the ground floor, its quadrangle, driveway, and chapel. Others were temporarily moved to the hospital’s new emergency room. 

Del Rosario said this means PGH will not be able to accommodate new patients on Sunday, and possibly until Monday, May 17, until all the evacuated patients are able to return to their rooms. 

“We have a new emergency room and they are currently there. So the ER of PGH will be closed starting today,” Del Rosario said in Filipino.

Earlier in May – weeks after the the strictest lockdown in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces – over 90% of PGH's COVID-19 beds remained occupied. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.