Hyderabad: A fire in the neonatal ICU (NICU) of Shine children hospital at LB Nagar early Monday killed an infant and injured five others. The babies were low birth-weight and being treated for pneumonia.
Out of a total 42 children at the hospital, six were in ICU.
The fire started at the ICU’s refrigerator. D. Manasa’s son, a pneumonia patient, had burns all over his body, which was covered completely with soot. The boy’s uncle, D. Sudershan, said his brother Naresh and Manasa had admitted their baby on Thursday. “It is clearly the negligence of the hospital authorities which caused my nephew’s death,” he said.
According to Mr Suder-shan, there was a short circuit in the NICU, during which time the children were brought out of ICU and kept outside without any incubator support or oxygen.
The hospital staff assured him there was nothing to worry about; when the family spoke of taking the baby away the staff said it was dangerous to shift an infant in critical condition. “So we dropped the plan to take the baby to another hospital,” he said.
The baby’s father lodged a complaint with police against the hospital’s managing director, Suneel Kumar, as well as the on-duty Dr Mohan.
The ICU had no smoke detectors or fire alarms, fire officers said in their preliminary investigation. Other parents rushed out with their babies in their arms.
Parents sleeping in the ground floor waiting hall were woken by a blast and saw patients and others fleeing the hospital. Yet these parents climbed upstairs to the fourth floor to rescue their children.
Mr M. Naveen was the first one to enter the NICU. He told DC: “The hospital staff stopped us from entering, saying that everything was under control. However I forced my way in but couldn’t see anything through the smoke. I went near the beds and handed three children over to other parents standing behind me.”
Mr I. Giri, whose three-month son escaped with minor burns, said: “Around 2:30 am we were sleeping when we heard the blast and woke up. We enquired and heard there was a fire on the fourth floor. We immediately rushed upstairs.”
“The NICU was filled with smoke and we couldn’t see anything,” he added. “It became difficult to identify our child. We risked our lives and rescued our child.”...