The toll in the Bhopal hospital fire that occurred on Monday rose to 12 after eight more children died, ANI reported on Wednesday.
Dr Jyotsna Srivastava, the head of pediatrics department at Kamala Nehru Hospital, told the news agency all the 40 children present were evacuated after the fire broke out and their condition was stable.
She said that the four children who died on Monday were underweight and were admitted to the hospital as they were already facing difficulties in breathing.
“The smoke [from the blaze] worsened their condition further and they died before 12 pm,” Srivastava said. “This can be ruled as death due to accident.”
She said that eight more children died within 36 hours after Monday midnight, adding that they also suffered from conditions such as birth asphyxia and low birthweight. Birth asphyxia is a condition in which an infant does not receive enough oxygen before, during, or directly after birth.
Meanwhile, State Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said that Gandhi Medical College Dean Dr Jitendra Shukla, Hamidia Hospital Superintendent Dr Lokendra Dave and Kamla Nehru Hospital Director Dr KK Dubey have been removed from their posts, reported News18.
The fire broke out on the third floor of the hospital, where the intensive care unit is located, around 9 pm. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced on Tuesday a high-level investigation into the incident and said that Additional Chief Secretary (public health and medical education) Mohammad Suleiman will conduct it.
Sarang had said the state government will provide a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the relatives of the children who died. He had also said the fire at the hospital may have started due to a short circuit.
Bhopal Municipal Corporation’s Fire Services Chief KS Parihar said that the hospital did not have mandatory fire safety clearance.
Parihar said that the Kamala Nehru Hospital had been served notices five times in the past six months, but it failed to get a fire safety no-objection certificate. In addition, 500 to 600 big and small medical facilities in Bhopal had also been served notices for fire safety clearance in the past six months, he said.
Parihar added that firefighters reached the hospital within 15 minutes of getting the information, and put out the blaze in an hour. “But the fire safety equipment installed at the hospital was outdated and not working,” he claimed.