A fire at the District General Hospital in Bhandara, Maharashtra, on Saturday, January 09, 2021 led to death of 10 infants. (Hindustan Times)
A fire at the District General Hospital in Bhandara, Maharashtra, on Saturday, January 09, 2021 led to death of 10 infants. (Hindustan Times)

Bhandara hospital fire: 3 terminated from service, 3 suspended

Maharashtra government has taken action against seven healthcare workers for negligence of duty in the Bhandara district hospital fire in which 10 newborns died on January 9
By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:42 AM IST

Maharashtra government has taken action against seven healthcare workers for negligence of duty in the Bhandara district hospital fire in which 10 newborns died on January 9. The services of a paediatrician, two staff nurses have been terminated, while district civil surgeon, a medical officer and an in-charge nurse have been suspended. The additional civil surgeon has been transferred to a non-executive post.

The investigation report of the incident stated that the fire broke because of a spark due to either voltage fluctuation or internal insulation wear-out in the control panel of the baby warmers in the out-born ward. It stated that based on the forensic report, three infants died of the shock due to burns while seven others suffocated from the smoke. Inflammable material, including plastic and cotton beds, aggravated the fire in the out-born rooms, the report stated.

Chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray had announced a probe by a committee headed by Nagpur divisional commissioner Sanjeev Kumar and had assured strictest action against those found responsible. The committee submitted its report to health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday.

Tope announced the action after a marathon meeting with department officials and in consultation with the CM and deputy CM Ajit Pawar on Thursday. Tope also announced plans to take corrective measures for the repairs and maintenance of the infrastructure at government hospitals in the state, to avoid repetition of the incident.

Tope said that the paediatrician in the sick newborn care unit (SNCU), Dr Sushil Ambade, two staff nurses Smita Ambilduke and Shubhangi Sathawane have been terminated from service for negligence in duty. Additionally, district civil surgeon Dr Pramod Khandate, medical officer on duty Dr Archana Meshram and in-charge nurse Jyoti Bharaskar have been suspended. Additional civil surgeon Dr Sunila Bade has been transferred to a non-executive post.

The report also stated that while the nurses were expected to sit at nursing stations inside the ward, they were away for some paperwork at the time of the fire at 1.30am.

“A committee under Ramaswami N, commissioner, family welfare, and director, National Health Mission, will review the steps needed for the upkeep of the hospitals, and submit a report in 15 days. We will chalk out an action plan for the proper maintenance of the hospitals and bio-medical equipment there. The building will have CCTVs and will be maintained as per the guidelines issued under the National Building Code, 2016,” Tope said.

Tope said that the government has released 1 crore to take immediate steps to get the out-born baby ward at the Bhandara hospital functional again. He said that the guardian ministers and the district collectors have been asked to make the funds available for the upkeep of hospital buildings in their respective districts.

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