Mumbai: The iconic Prince Aly Khan Hospital (PAKH) in Byculla has decided to shut its in-patient admissions and surgeries after an independent structural audit found that the main building was unsafe for occupancy.
The 77-year-old hospital wrote to its doctors saying that keeping in mind the health and safety of the patients, staff, and all stakeholders, the board has decided to halt the inpatient admissions and suspend surgeries with immediate effect.
Amin Manekia, chairman of PAKH said they got the structural audit report on August 19, and the board met on August 20 morning. “I am still trying to wrap my head around the development. We did all we could do by carrying out regular repairs, maintenance etc. We had regular structural audits. Last year’s structural audit showed significant deterioration after which we carried out repair works for eight-nine months,” he said.
Manekia, who was born at the hospital and stayed in the hospital premises until a few years back, said recently, a part of the ceiling in the X-ray room came off and they consulted the BMC after which a detailed structural audit was carried out. He said the report, which puts the building in C-1 category (dilapidated), will be submitted to the BMC on August 22 while they start the second round of structural audit. “The C-1 category implies the building needs to be demolished or rebuilt. It is too early to say as we go ahead with the second audit. Hopefully, we will find a viable solution. For us, our patients’ and staff’s safety is our topmost priority and will not be compromised at any cost. We, therefore, decided to shut the in-patient service with immediate effect as soon as the first audit report came. We had to take the tough decision,” said Manekia.
Doctors attached to the hospital said the news of the hospital shutting the in-patient service came as a shock as they never thought it was in such dilapidated condition.
“We heard that a part of the ceiling in the X-ray room had come off recently after which they went for an independent structural audit as per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) directives. We received an email from the board on April 20 about the temporary shutdown. It was abrupt,” said a senior doctor from the hospital. Among the well-known doctors attached to the hospital are- eminent surgical oncologist Dr Sultan Pradhan, Dr Anil D’Cruz, former director of Tata Memorial Hospital, and well-known surgical oncologist, Dr Gustad Daver, a renowned vascular surgeon.
The 154-bed hospital had started as a 16-bed nursing home in 1945 and during the Covid-19 pandemic, it treated more than 3000 Covid-19 patients. At present, the hospital has 65-70 admitted patients. “We spoke to all our doctors for all the patients who are admitted with us right now. We have an average hospital stay of 4-5 days. Most of our patients will get discharged in the next few days. The critical patients will be taken care of with adequate care,” said Manekia.
The hospital annually sees over 170,000 outpatients and 9,000 in-patients.
Earlier in the year, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) had announced the expansion plan for PAKH. The 350-bed hospital, which is coming up opposite PAKH’s current location, is presently in the planning stage and will take 4-5 years for completion.
“We thought at least till then the main building will be there with us. The structural audit’s development has come as a complete shock for all of us. We had recently inaugurated our transit building that houses the outdoor patient services and a brand-new maternity wing. The OPD services will be on. Meantime, for inpatients, we have a good rapport with neighbouring hospitals where the patients will be referred,” said Manekia.