INDIA. Maharashtra: Around ten newborn babies have died in a fire at the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at Bhandara District General Hospital, Maharashtra. According to the reports, the fire reportedly broke out at 1.30.am. Around 17 babies were stuck in the hospital fire out of which seven were rescued.
In a statement, the Chief Surgeon of Bhandara District General Hospital, Pramod Khandate said, “At around 1.30 a.m., a staff nurse found smoke in the out-born ward of the hospital. When she went into the room, the smoke engulfed her and she could not see anything. She informed the higher authorities and all of us reached there”.
Khandate also said that the hospital staff tried their best to save the babies from the fire. “As far as possible, we personally took the babies out, and, in the next five minutes, the fire brigade reached there. The fire brigade rescued seven babies who were in the in-born ward but 10 babies in the out-born ward could not be saved. The rescued babies are doing good and shifted to another room. We also shifted the patients of the nearby wards — ICU, labor room, and dialysis patients — to another room,” he said.
The babies were reportedly kept in the ICU for special care due to birth complications. The dead babies were identified by their family members and further procedures were initiated.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe into the incident. Deputy CM Ajit Pawar has also ordered a safety audit of newborn care units of all government hospitals in Maharashtra. The Maharashtra government has announced an amount of ₹5 lakh ($6,813.90) each to the kin of the deceased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to convey his condolences to the families of the babies. “Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families. I hope the injured recover as early as possible,” he tweeted.