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Grieving parents contest Bhopal hospital blaze toll; political slugfest starts

Leader of Opposition and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath alleged that the casualty figures are being suppressed by the government like during the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

Published: 10th November 2021 04:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th November 2021 08:10 AM   |  A+A-

A man carries a child out from the Kamla Nehru Children’s Hospital after a fire in the newborn care unit of the hospital killed four infants. (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL:  The kin of many infants admitted at the fire-hit Kamla Nehru Government Hospital in Bhopal and the opposition Congress have alleged that the toll was much higher than four deaths, a charge denied by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government.

“Hospital and government are lying as many more newborns, including my four-day-old child, who were admitted at the unit where the fire happened, died. My child was to be discharged on Monday, but didn’t come out of the hospital alive,” mourned Bhopal resident Shailendra with the body of his newborn on the lap.

MP minister Vishwas Kailash Sarang meets
families at the hospital on Tuesday | pti

Leader of Opposition and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath alleged that the casualty figures are being suppressed by the government like during the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

“I spoke with many parents who are still searching for their missing newborns and infants but are not being allowed entry in the fire-hit critical care facilities. The actual toll is much more than four being reported by the government,” the Congress veteran said.

“Contrary to the medical education minister’s claims that only 40 infants were admitted at the fire-hit paediatric unit, there were 140-150 patients at Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) on the third floor. We demand a probe by a sitting high court judge in place of the probe which is being overseen by a senior state bureaucrat.”

But, Medical Education Minister Vishvas Sarang maintained that the Monday night’s blaze claimed four lives.

“There were 40 children admitted to the fire-hit unit, and all were rescued by fire-fighters and hospital staff. But due to severity of their existing health complications, four of them couldn’t be saved. SNCU and PICU attend to severely ill infants. Many such kids die despite best efforts of doctors in such units. It won’t be correct to assume that all deaths were the result of the blaze,” Sarang asserted.

A high-level probe was ordered and Rs 4 lakh announced to each of the four bereaved families, the minister assured the tragedy-hit households.



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