Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Wednesday visited Sum hospital in Bhubaneswar even as there were protests outside the hospital over the incident demanding Rs.15 lakh compensation and jobs for the victims. He took stock of the situation after at least 20 persons were killed following a major inferno that raged through the hospital on Monday evening. The Health Minister said, “The incident is saddening, shocking and painful”. Talking tough on the horrific incident, Nadda said, “Prima facie I find some safety issues which need to be addressed and people’s faith need to be reposed. People responsible for it should be punished”. Noting that safety norms were being flouted, he said inquiry report should come out soon. “We see some protocol has been breached. Inquiry report will come out soon”. Nadda also reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had instructed ‘quick action’ and asked the state government to take punitive steps.
Significantly, the hospital lost its accreditation with the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) two months ago. It was found lacking quality standards, including measures to deal with fire, an Indian Express report has said.
“SUM Hospital lost its accreditation about two months back when the surveillance team found it to be wanting on several counts. NABH does not have specific standards for various units of the hospital but SUM was found to be lacking in overall compliance to our standards,” Dr K K Kalra, CEO of NABH, told The Indian Express.
Kalra, however, refused to comment on specifics of the hospital report card that was discussed by the accreditation committee and did not pass muster. NABH sources, however, said the inspection team found that the hospital had not renewed its fire no-objection certificate (NoC) after 2013 and fire drills showed that its staff had not been adequately trained.
The hospital first got NABH accreditation in June 2013 and this was the first cycle of inspection. NABH sources said the inspection report, which ran into ten chapters, reported serious deficiencies in almost every chapter pertaining to patient safety and “overall intent” of the hospital.
Meanwhile, the superintendent of Sum Hospital, who was among the four officials arrested in connection with a major fire at the medical facility, was admitted to the SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack after complaining of chest pain.
Pushparaj Samantasinghar was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Cardiology Department of the SCB Hospital, a police official said. Besides Samantasinghar, police had arrested Electrical Maintenance Engineer Amulya Sahu, Fire Safety Officer Santosh Das and Junior Engineer (Electrical Maintenance) Malaya Kumar Sahu of the private hospital. Police arrested the hospital superintendent and three others, including its fire safety officer, on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The fire services department filed an FIR against the hospital authorities for not adhering to its recommendations made during a fire safety audit in 2013.