Hindustantimes wants to start sending you push notifications. Click allow to subscribe

Delhi hospital fire: One more baby dies; cops record statements

May 31, 2024 11:51 PM IST

Of the five injured babies, who were later shifted to Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, a 50-day-old baby girl succumbed on Friday

The death toll in the Vivek Vihar hospital blaze case rose to seven after one more infant, who had been on oxygen support since the massive fire tragedy last week, died on Friday, Delhi Police officers aware of the matter said.

On Saturday night, six newborn babies, some just hours old, were killed and five were wounded after a fire ripped through a paediatric hospital in Vivek Vihar. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Police said the exact cause of death is yet to be ascertained but the baby’s health had been critical since her birth.

Explore Crickit, your go-to platform to catch the game, anytime, anywhere. Click here!

On Saturday night, six newborn babies, some just hours old, were killed and five were wounded after a fire ripped through a paediatric hospital in Vivek Vihar — New Born Baby Care Hospital. The tragedy triggered condemnation and anger across the national capital, as authorities pointed to a litany of lapses and violations of basic safety protocol and arrested the owner of the neonatal facility.

Of the five injured babies, who were later shifted to Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, a 50-day-old baby girl succumbed on Friday. Police said they are waiting for a postmortem report to initiate proceedings in the case.

“The baby was admitted to the Vivek Vihar hospital for weeks and was on oxygen support. After the fire, she was shifted to East Delhi NICU hospital. She did not suffer burns but had difficulty breathing. She was then shifted to Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya. Her body has now been shifted to the GTB Hospital,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.

Police said the baby either succumbed to illness related to the asphyxiation from the fire or the pre-existing lung condition she had since birth. The baby’s parents, Seema and Gyanendra (single names) are residents of New Ashok Nagar. Her father works odd jobs to support the family, said police.

Probe continues

Police arrested the owner of the hospital, Dr Naveen Khichi, 45, along with Dr Akash Singh, 26 for negligence and culpable homicide on Sunday. Police said Dr Singh was on duty at the time of the incident but fled from the scene, adding they recorded written statements of at least 30 people in connection with the case including doctors and ayurvedic practitioners who managed the hospital in Khichi’s absence.

The Delhi Police produced the accused doctors before a judge on Thursday after which they were sent to judicial custody for 11 days. Investigators said they have recorded statements from the 16 staffers of the hospital, the 12 families (of the injured and deceased babies) and doctors from reputed hospitals who knew or have worked with Dr Khichi.

An analysis of the CCTV footage of the area showed how the fire started from the second floor of the building. “We are not sure if it was an oxygen cylinder and generator on the second floor that led to the fire or an electrical fault in the wires hanging outside the building. The causer is being investigated,” said deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary.

‘Babies often caught new infections’

“In their statements, the families gave us a detailed description of the hospital, how the beds had no space and how the staffers treated the babies. Many of them complained that their babies often caught new infections but the nurses told the parents much later. The caregivers were allowed to meet the babies only once a day, adding only two people were allowed inside,” a second police officer said, also asking not to be named.

Meanwhile, the doctors who knew Khichi or worked with him confirmed many allegations and said the infection rate was high at the hospital.

“Khichi made ayurvedic doctors in charge of the place during the day. He would only stay at his Vivek Vihar hospital for three hours every day. The ayurvedic doctors would take care of the babies with the nurses. The infection rate was high but parents and doctors would still recommend Khichi’s hospital as it was a cheaper alternative,” a third officer said, citing the statements.

Police said doctors from Gupta Nursing Home, GTB, and ESIC Hospital, among other institutes, have been contacted to give their statements.

Delhi Police also found that Khichi and his staff kept babies with infections and premature newborns in beds next to each other, without safety measures. As per DGHS guidelines, the beds must be spaced 0.91 metres apart but this was not followed by the hospital.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

Stay updated with all top Cities including, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and more across India. Stay informed on the latest happenings in World News
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
OPEN APP