Fire at DMCH: Could the tragedy have been avoided? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:58 AM, March 18, 2021


Fire at DMCH: Could the tragedy have been avoided?

Hospitals must stringently take all fire safety precautions

We are shocked and saddened by the deaths of three patients after they were shifted from Dhaka Medical College Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) dedicated for Covid-19 patients when a fire broke out in the ICU facility. The patients died when they were shifted to the CCU from the ICU.

So far, the cause of the fire that broke out at the ICU in the hospital's new building is not clear, and a probe committee has been formed to investigate the incident. It is eerily reminiscent of the terrible tragedy that occurred at the United Hospital in May last year, when an isolation unit caught on fire and five patients perished as the duty doctor and nurses fled from the scene instead of trying to rescue the patients. In this case at DMCH, all the patients were transferred to the CCU from the ICU but three of them, who were on life support, lost their lives after being transferred.

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While accidents can happen anywhere at any time, it is unacceptable that they should occur in a hospital, that too in the ICU where the most critical patients are treated. We hope that the probe will unravel whether any kind of negligence took place, especially in terms of having proper safety measures installed for all electronic equipment. Meanwhile, the hospital authorities with the help of the fire department must make a thorough inspection of all such areas of the hospitals where fires could break out, and must ensure that fire-fighting equipment are operational and close at hand.

We commiserate with the families of the deceased patients. If the investigation finds any trace of negligence causing the fire, we hope the authorities will ensure that the families receive compensation although nothing will make up for the loss of their loved ones. The incident should be a wake-up call for all hospitals to make sure that all their units, especially those that have specialised electronic equipment and electrical appliances, are regularly inspected and maintained. Hospitals must also take all precautions to avoid fires and have regular training of staff on fire safety protocols.



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