Expressing its condolences over the fire Incidence at Covid ICU in Government Civil Hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra in which 12 Covid-19 patients died and seven others were injured, IMA said that this unfortunate incident that took place in a government hospital exposes the “collective responsibility” of the Government, administration, allied departments of engineering, and maintenance.
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, said IMA.
IMA also added that while the specialized task departments like Fire, Electricity & PWD exists in all government institutions, action against doctors & nurses is nothing but swaying away from responsibilities by the machinery.
Mechanisms of fire audit, maintenance & firefighting are allocated responsibilities of these specialized departments undoubtedly.
“Why should doctors & nurses should be treated as scapegoats just to project some action? If doctors & nurses can be arrested without any complete enquiry & be slapped with responsibilities which they are not accountable for, it speaks volumes about the system,” stated IMA.
Conducting fire audits, electrical audits at regular intervals is the responsibility of the specific departments in the system and 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 task by the authorities, however, in government hospitals, the unfortunate postgraduate student doctor and nurses are arrested and put in jail.
Meanwhile, 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.