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Tragedy Strikes Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital as Surgical Ward Cantilever Collapses

A tragic incident occurred at the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (ABSTH) as a cantilever in the surgical ward collapsed, resulting in the death of a 60-year-old woman patient, Azmat Bibi, and injuring at least a dozen others, including eight patients.

Azmat Bibi, hailing from Mandi Bahauddin district, sustained serious injuries and later succumbed to them. The injured individuals include Rizwana from Lalamusa, Allah Ditta from Wazirabad, Saleem Akhtar from Thimka near Jalalpur Jattan, Umar Siddique from Gujranwala, Khalida Parveen and Gulshan from Gujrat, and Siddique from Mandi Bahauddin.

The unfortunate incident in the hospital is believed to have occurred due to alleged negligence on the part of government engineers, the contractor firm, and the hospital’s administration. Civil work was underway at the facility as part of the Punjab government’s project to revamp the hospital’s old building.

According to Rescue 1122 officials and local authorities, the removal of support pillars to replace the windows of the surgical ward in the hospital caused the roofs of the ground and first floors of the old building to bend, leading to the collapse.

Upon receiving the distressing news, Rescue 1122 teams, Alkhidmat Foundation volunteers, and officials from the district administration and police rushed to the scene to assist in the rescue operation.

Gujrat Deputy Commissioner Safdar Virk, after assessing the collapsed portion of the building, expressed gratitude that the roof did not collapse entirely, which could have resulted in more catastrophic consequences. He mentioned that there were only eight to ten individuals in the female surgical ward when the beam collapsed, while the ground floor ward had already been evacuated.

The Punjab government has taken serious notice of the incident and formed a committee to investigate and ascertain responsibility. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty based on the inquiry report.

The injured individuals have been shifted to the Rasheeda Shafi Trauma Centre at ABSTH, where they are reported to be in stable condition. Punjab Health Minister Khwaja Salman Rafique, Minister for Communication and Works Sohaib Bharth, along with their respective department secretaries, visited the ABSTH to inspect the site, inquire about the injured, and assure them of treatment facilities.

The Punjab government has initiated an inquiry into the incident, and the responsible committee, along with the C&W department officials, will prepare a report. In a subsequent statement, Health Minister Kh Salman Rafique announced the removal of the ABSTH MS Dr Asif Mahmood and the buildings executive engineer, with the contractor also facing repercussions. The Gujrat DC has submitted an initial report of the incident to the provincial government.

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