/ 5 November 2007

Fire damages theatres at Jo’burg hospital

Fire damaged five operating theatres at Coronation Hospital in Newclare, Johannesburg, on Monday, causing several patients to be moved to nearby hospitals, the provincial department of health said.

”Patients who require emergency medical operations were moved to Johannesburg and Chris Hani-Baragwanath hospitals after five theatres were ravaged by fire,” said spokesperson Zanele Mngadi.

Doctors were busy setting up for an operation when the fire started at about 9am. It is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in a machine used to administer anaesthetics.

Provincial health minister Brian Hlongwa visited the hospital and said the damage was a disturbing setback to the provision of health services in Gauteng.

”I’d like to assure the public that we will do whatever is possible to minimise inconvenience to patients and to ensure that normality is restored at the hospital as soon as it is practical. I am confident that we will get to the bottom of this in a short space of time,” he said.

Hlongwa said he was relieved that nobody was injured.

The extent of the damage caused to the hospital infrastructure has not yet been determined, he said. — Sapa