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Hospital Fires – “Everybody’s responsibility is nobody’s responsibility”

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Image Source – Hindustan Times

The mishap at Ahmednagar’s Civil hospital has taken the entire nation by a storm. The fire in the Intensive Care Unit resulted in the death of as many as 11 people. The tragedy has not only left the nation mourning but has also given rise to many pertinent questions. 

The Ahmednagar tragedy is one of the many instances of negligence by the hospital administration in the last few months. The Bhandup fire in Mumbai caused the death of 10 people, a mishap in a private hospital in Virar which left 13 people dead are a couple of other occasions where a heavy price was paid for irresponsible handling of emergencies.

To understand the nature of such incidents better, we talked to Dr. Sanjay Dhurjad. He is a Director at one of Nashik City’s largest singly owned, Sudarshan Hospital. 

Dr. Dhurjad pointed out the need for proper auditing, supervision, and maintenance of equipment. “If such an incident takes place in  private hospitals, the trustees, management, or the owners are held responsible. An equal amount of responsibility should lie in the hands of the government machinery, in case of a mishap at a public healthcare centre.”

As more information regarding the Ahmednagar tragedy unfolds, the hospital authority has cited a short circuit to be the reason for the fire. However, the fire department thinks that the hospital overlooked the shortcomings which were pointed out in two fire audits. Meanwhile, the Government has announced a compensation of ₹ 5 lakh to the families of the deceased. 

Dr. Dhurjad believes in having a positive approach while solving such problems. “We should be in a complementary mode instead of a complaint mode”, he said. Notwithstanding the ownership of the place, rescuing those who are stuck is of greater importance.

Lack of responsibility can be a major reason for such unwanted scenarios. The Nashik-based Doctor sees the lack of ownership among the professionals in the public health sector, especially during a crisis, as a worrying trend.  “Everybody’s responsibility is nobody’s responsibility.” said the city’s leading orthopedic surgeon.

Is the public healthcare system in India strong enough and well equipped to counter grave emergencies? Dr. Durjad thinks otherwise, “I don’t think  they are capable enough, the need to comply with the safety measures is of critical importance.”

The Director of Sudarshan Hospital believes that things would not change for good as long as they are not coupled with strong political will.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dr.Raveendra Gondhalekar

    November 12, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Whether it is public health sector or privae,as patients safety point of view the rules,regulations&acts should be equally applicable i.e.norms of….
    2)National building code.
    3)Fire audit
    4)Electric audit
    6)Registration under Maharashtra(Bombay)Nursing Home Act 1949
    7)patient to staff ratio
    8)Periodic maintenance

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