Blaze in Neonatal Hospital Sparks Strict Fire Audits in Delhi

Following a tragic fire at a neonatal hospital in Delhi that killed six newborns, the Delhi government mandates all private and public hospitals to conduct fire and electrical audits and submit compliance reports by June 8. Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj emphasized strict actions against violations and initiated random inspections.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 28-05-2024 00:03 IST | Created: 28-05-2024 00:03 IST
Blaze in Neonatal Hospital Sparks Strict Fire Audits in Delhi
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In the aftermath of a blaze at a neonatal hospital that killed six newborns, the Delhi government has issued directions to all private and state-run hospitals to complete a fire audit and submit a compliance report by June 8, Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said on Monday.

Bharadwaj said the owner of the hospital in east Delhi's Vivek Vihar area was also running another nursing home ''illegally'' at Paschimpuri and a case was registered against him. He had called for a meeting to discuss the fire incident at the medical centre.

Initially, police had said seven newborns were killed in the blaze but after the autopsy, it has been found that one of the babies had died hours before the fire broke out.

Bharadwaj said it has been learnt that oxygen refilling was being carried out at the hospital, and added that it would be looked into whether the facility was doing it on its own or some other agency was involved.

He stressed that it is illegal for a hospital to have a refilling system since it can lead to fire. ''On April 24, we had issued directions to all hospitals for fire preparedness. On May 8, we asked them to conduct a fire audit. Now, we have asked all private and Delhi government-run hospitals to complete a fire audit and submit a compliance report by June 8 to the health department,'' he told reporters.

The hospitals have also been asked to conduct an audit of the electrical system.

''In summer, the power load increases that can lead to short circuit. We have also asked hospitals to carry out an audit of their electrical system to ensure that it can withstand the load,'' Bharadwaj added.

The minister said they have also asked all chief district medical officers (CDMOs) to conduct random inspection of nursing homes and hospitals in their districts.

Talking about the Vivek Vihar hospital, he said that the hospital was functioning ''illegally'' with 12 beds as against five beds it had permission for.

''It has been alleged that oxygen refilling was carried out at the hospital in violation of the norms and that will be looked into. The hospital's registration certificate was valid till March 31 and they had applied for renewal. It was issued a deficiency memo as some documents were missing,'' he added.

Bharadwaj said that a surprise inspection was carried out at the medical facility and some deficiencies were found, following which a case was also registered.

''The owner was also running another nursing home illegally at Paschimpuri and a case was registered against him. Both the cases are in trial. One is ongoing at Tis Hazari court and another at Karkardooma court. We hope that verdict will come in both cases soon,'' he said. He stressed that strict action will be taken against those involved in ''illegally'' running extra beds at the hospital.

Bharadwaj also clarified that the Delhi Fire Service had no record of issuing any NOC to the Vivek Vihar hospital since the height of the building was nine metres and according to rules such buildings do not require a fire NOC.

''Now, we will include a checklist of systems that will be required while issuing a registration certificate. These will include automatic smoke detection system, fire extinguishers and water sprinklers in case of a fire,'' he added.

The minister also said two nurses and five neighbours rescued the some babies without worrying about their lives.

''They did not worry about their own safety. We will recommend their names for bravery awards,'' he added.

The revenue department has been asked to expedite the process of compensation to the families of the babies killed and injured in the fire, Bharadwaj said.

The meeting at the Delhi Secretariat, where health department officials were present, also discussed the ongoing heatwave conditions.

The private neonatal hospital in Vivek Vihar where six newborns died and five were injured in the blaze was operating despite the expiry of its licence. It also did not have qualified doctors and no clearance from the fire department, police said on Sunday.

Police have arrested Dr Naveen Khichi, the hospital's owner, and Dr Aaksh -- who was on duty at the time of the fire that took place on Saturday night.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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