‘Hospital staff not to blame for incubator fire death’

March 14th, 2008 - 3:44 pm ICT by admin  

Ahmedabad, March 14 (IANS) The superintendent of a hospital here where a three-day-old infant died in an incubator fire said Friday there was “no negligence” on the part of the medical staff. The Gujarat government has ordered a probe into the death at Shardaben Municipal Hospital. The infant was charred to death early Wednesday when the incubator caught fire.

Hospital Superintendent Nimish Pandya told IANS Friday that neither was the machine poorly maintained nor was there any negligence on the part of the medical staff.

“The machines were working perfectly till 4 a.m. on that fateful morning when fire broke out in the incubator between 4 a.m. and 4.15 a.m.,” Pandya said.

Shortly before the fire broke out, the baby was fed with a spoon and then placed inside, he said.

“These machines have nothing else but a tube light that would cause worry. Premature newborn babies are placed in incubators to generate sufficient heat to maintain their normal body temperature. Maybe it could have been sudden excess voltage flow into the tube light that caused the fire. This would be known only after an inquiry,” Pandya said.

He added that although the machine was locally made, it met international specifications and standards.

The state government had, on the day of the tragedy, instructed the health commissioner to conduct an in-depth inquiry.

The three-member team probing the incident would comprise of a health department official of joint secretary rank, the chief electric inspector and a senior functionary of the forensic science laboratory, Health and Family Welfare Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said.

Gujarat Health Commissioner Amarjeet Singh told IANS: “We are conducting a detailed inquiry into all aspects of the tragedy that occurred March 12 and the report is expected in the next few days.”

Vyas had announced a compensation of Rs.50,000 and defraying of medical expenses to Pushpa Rao, the mother of the dead infant.

Since Rao was a native of Delhi, Vyas said all her travel expenses would be borne by the government.

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