AFDR Report on infant killing

AFDR report on infant killing accuses Rajindra hospital authorities

 

Gagandeep Ahuja

 

Sunday, 05 April 2009

 

PATIALA: The fire incident in children ward of local Government Rajindera hospital in which six kids were burnt alive was result of administrative lapses and gross negligence on the part of hospital staff. These conclusions were made in nine-page fact finding report prepared by Association for Democratic Rights Punjab(AFDR), Patiala unit, released Sunday.

AFDR report by its Patiala unit  had indicted the Rajindra Hospital senior authorities, head of the Pediatric Department for the administrative lapse at the time of incident.

The five member fact finding committee consists of President Ranjit Singh Ghuman, Secretary Vidu Sekhar Bhardwaj, Vice-President Bhagwant Singh Kanganwal, Joint Secretary Jagmohan Singh Uppal and Ghansham Joshi.

The committee took feedback of more than 15 persons including the hospital staff, eye witnesses, family members of the infants who died in the incident and other persons who managed to extinguish the fire and bring out five infants alive from the incubators.
In the report, the committee has came up with the conclusion that the immediate cause of fire broke was excessive load on the electric wires which were connected with the rod heaters and the leads connecting the phototherapy unit with the main plug through extension wires.

The committee President R.S Ghuman said, “the damage became five folds as five children together were put in one phototherapy unit, which was not only sub-standardised and improvised, but was also made of inflammable material including wood, ply and was covered with the cloth sheet that easily caught fire.”

Pointing towards the Rajindra Hospital authority, the committee members said that the Head of the Paediatric Department,Dr.K.K Locham, who is also overall incharge of the nursery unit continued to admit newly born infants in the unscientific phototherapy unit. Even in the phototherapy unit the hospital authorities kept five infants in single unit, whereas there is provision of keeping only one infant in single unit. “If the authorites would have taken precautions, then it was possible to reduce the extend of the incident,” said R.S Ghuman.

It is notable, that from the budgetary provision of Rajindra Hospital, the Medical Superintendent (MS) and Principal of Rajindra medical college can spend upto Rs one lakh each without the prior approval of higher authorities and the cost of scientific phototherapy unit ranges below Rs 20,000 each. The then MS who is now serving as Principal Dr. Surinder Singh told the committee that the hospital authorities have purchased five phototherapy units now.

The committee also alleged the negligence on the part of Director, Secretary and the Minister of Research and Medical Education and state government failing to monitor the hospital administration.

The committee demands atleast Rs 2 lakh compensation each for the family members of victim, with out any further delay release of the announced Rs 1 lakh compensation from the Prime Minister relief fund. The committee also demanded the filling of vacant medical and para-medical staff seats and to maintain the hospital nursery as per the MCI norms.

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