10 newborn babies die in Maharashtra as hospital catches fire, 17 rescued

Maharashtra: Ten babies have died after a fire broke out at Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at Bhandara District General Hospital in Maharashtra.

The fire reportedly broke out at around 1.30 am on Saturday and of the 17 babies, seven were rescued immediately.

Quoting Pramod Khandate, Chief Surgeon, Bhandara District General Hospital, reports said that “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.”

“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,” Khandate was quoted further saying.

Reports added that the babies in the in-born ward who were rescued were those that were born in the hospital and needed special care in the ICU, while the 10 babies that could not be saved in out-born were those born in other hospitals in the taluka and were brought in for special care due to birth complications.

“The rescued babies are doing good and shifted to another room. We also shifted the patients of the nearby wards — ICU, labour room and dialysis patients — to another room,” Khandate was quoted as saying.

In this regard, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered a probe and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar has ordered a safety audit of newborn care units of all government hospitals in the State.

Meanwhile, in a tweet, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi wrote: “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 (sic)”.


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