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Rajkot Hospital Fire: SC rebukes Gujarat for its ‘everything is good’ report

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the Gujarat government’s response to the Rajkot Hospital Fire last week which ended up killing five. The court said the state was suppressing facts and asked it to file a fresh affidavit with correct facts.

The Supreme Court had earlier sought a report from the state government on the Rajkot Hospital Fire which was reported on Friday. Initial investigations have revealed negligence on part of the hospital authorities, PTI reported.

“According to you (Gujarat) everything is good, but your stand is contrary to your own Chief Electrical Engineer’s report about wiring,” the court said on Tuesday.

So far five doctors including three officials of the company, Gokul Healthcare, which runs the hospital, have been arrested. The arrested include chairman Dr Prakash Modha, his son and executive director Dr Vishal Modha, and director Dr Tejas Karamta.

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The apex court also asked the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to ensure all facts were brought out in the new affidavit which the state will have to file. The court will take up further hearing on December 3.  

The hospital is run by the Shivanand Mission Trust and got a nod to operate on September 15, media reports said.

What probe in Rajkot Hospital fire revealed

The probe revealed that the emergency exit in the ICU of the hospital, where the fire was reported, was blocked as some machines were placed there. Lack of ventilation in the ICU led to the smoke getting trapped in the ICU. The only exit from the hospital floor in case of an emergency was a 4 feet wide staircase.

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Only the ground floor had two exits but even those lacked a fire sign exit and no reflectors pointed to the emergency exit. The ICU door was just a bit over 3 ft wide and the fire extinguisher kept near the ICU could not be used as the staff on duty was not trained to use it.

None of the staff members were trained in fire and emergency rescue and the hospital lacked an evacuation plan. It also lacked an automatic sprinkler system and had failed to follow the NBC and NABH and fire safety guidelines. 

The negligence in ensuring proper safety protocols on the part of the hospital authorities is what aggravated the fire, the probe has found.

The fire was reported at 1 am in the ICU unit of Uday Shivanand Hospital in Rajkot. The hospital which is a COVID-19 centre had 33 COVID-19 patients. The ICU had 11 patients at the time of the incident.

 

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