Fire destroys operating room at Berbice Ophthalmology Hospital

-eye surgeries affected

A fire suspected to be electrical in origin destroyed an operating room and an excimer laser at the National Ophthalmology Hos-pital in Port Mourant, Corentyne yesterday.

According to information reaching Stabroek News, at around 4am yesterday, hospital staff noticed a Guyana Power and Light (GPL) transformer sparking.

Subsequently, staff told investigators, between 4:30am and 5am, they saw smoke emanating from an operating room – Theatre Room 3 – located on the bottom flat of the medical centre and alerted the GPL emergency crew and the Guyana Fire Service.

The Rose Hall Town fire service responded promptly and began to fight the fire. Patients who were in the building were evacuated to safety. The firemen were later assisted by a crew from the New Amsterdam Fire Service.

Stabroek News was told that the excimer laser, which is used for conducting cataract surgeries, was significantly damaged. The destroyed machine is estimated to be worth over US$3000.

Sources said that the operating theatre was extensively damaged but could not give an estimate of the losses. Apart from the damage to the room, other equipment was also reportedly destroyed. At the scene yesterday, hospital officials were tightlipped and barred members of the media from the compound.

‘B’ Division Fire Chief Compton Sparman related to Stabroek News that after his station was alerted, they responded immediately treating the situation as a high-risk fire. Sparman recalled that after noticing the smoke emanating from the building, they called for backup from the New Amsterdam Fire Station and a crew responded promptly.

Sparman said that his team took over an hour to extinguish the fire as upon entering the building, they had to deal with the thick smoke while the layout of the building also posed difficulties.

He said that at that point, the origin of the fire is unknown and government electrical engineers are conducting their investigation and they would have to wait on the findings. He commended his crew and the police for a “job well done” noting that the lawmen did a great job in barring unwanted persons from encroaching on the scene.

It was noted that the fire service had received reports from persons stating that the GPL transformer was sparking and the wire had caught fire. Sparman said that such situations can be prevented and once persons notice such occurrences, they should contact the fire service as well as GPL.

Sources from the health facility told Stabroek News that from the moment they saw the transformers sparking, staff contacted the GPL emergency crew who showed up approximately three hours after the report was made. One source said that the person on the emergency crew who was contacted, related that he starts working at 7am. The emergency crew arrived at 7am and disconnected the building from the electricity grid.

It was observed that the crew was doing some work on the faulty transformer before reconnecting power to the building. Staff from AINLIM New Amsterdam also took precautions by removing gas cylinders from the medical centre until it was declared safe once again.

Sources at the hospital stated that they would be unable to proceed with any surgeries until further notice. However, clinics would resume as normal from today.

Stabroek News was informed that Ministry of Health and Regional officials including the Regional Chairman David Armogan and vice-chairman Bhopal Jagroo visited the scene. Investigations are continuing.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.

Students of Guyana and Suriname who participated in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition, held yesterday at NCERD.

Guyana overall w-i-n-n-e-r in first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee

Guyana’s students yesterday emerged the overall winners in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition. The Spelling Bee brought together students of Guyana and Suriname, from ages 10 to 14, in a concept of solidarity dubbed “Guianame.” The participants were drawn from several regions in Guyana and from the AlphaMax Academy, which has been the winner of the National Spelling Bee in Suriname for the past three years.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: