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IMA demands comprehensive steps to prevent fire incidents in hospitals

Yash Ved, Mumbai
Saturday, November 20, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Expressing condolences for the incidents of fire in Covid ICU in Government Civil Hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra in which 12 Covid-19 patients were died and seven others injured, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is demanding comprehensive steps to prevent fire incidents in hospitals.

IMA also stated that it exposed the collective responsibility of the government, administration, allied departments of engineering, and maintenance.

The association demanded that the Maharashtra government should commence a threadbare study on this incident with the objective to formulate practical guidelines to prevent such incidents in future.

IMA national president, Dr J A Jayalal stated, "However, it is extremely painful to know that the doctors and staff nurses who were involved in  the medical care of the patients in the ICU have been accused with charges of negligence of the fire incident. Slapping doctors and nurses with charges under Sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by authorities has raised serious questions about the safety of professionals in the democratic country."

The association stated that it is in contact with IMA Maharashtra State leaders and shall extend complete support to every action taken up by IMA Maharashtra State.

"Doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district are strongly protesting against the unwarranted arrest of a student doctor and three nurses in connection with the hospital fire. IMA stands firm against any such unjust, unfair dealing with medical professionals & nurses," the association added.

IMA added that instead of knee-jerk reactions, it is time for all stakeholders concerned to audit the safety norms on physical infrastructure, violence prevention, and ensure adequate funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the equipment to ensure patient safety.

“When such fire incidents take place in private hospitals, the owner of the hospitals are taken into the task by the authorities, however, in government hospitals, the unfortunate postgraduate student doctor and nurses are arrested and put in jail,” the association added.

IMA added that the fire department should create feasible and implementable norms and not just sit upon the impractical and non-implementable norms to get a fire license in busy and crowded metropolitan.

"It is further learned that requisition for fire safety devices was put up by the concerned people and a fire audit of the hospital was conducted a few months back as announced by the health department. But the task of installing firefighting systems had allegedly been held up due to technical reasons, the association said.

Apart from fire extinguishers, the civil hospital lacked a concrete firefighting system and allegedly had no fire sprinklers, hydrants, or even smoke detectors, the association added.


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