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Hospital safety

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The deadly fire in a hospital in Kolkata has shaken up Mumbai, where the fire department has begun to inspect hospitals. HT reports:

In a review meeting conducted by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar on
Tuesday, it was decided that the fire brigade will inspect public and private hospitals which have more than 100 beds. Sixty-seven hospitals in the city have more than 100 beds, of which 36 are private hospitals.

The fire brigade’s chief fire officer will inspect these hospitals over the next 15 days and if deficiencies are found, hospital authorities will be issued a notice.

Sounds very commendable, but in India one is used to efforts which lead nowhere. Is this effort going to be different? The next part of the report seems to indicate that things are unlikely to change.

Inspection of city hospitals by the fire brigade over the past year has revealed that fire exits and escape routes have been blocked, beds have been erected on open spaces in the verandah, inflammable substances that include chemicals have been stored in the basement of the hospitals and firefighting apparatus has been rendered defunct because of lack of maintenance.

If these violations were known for a year then why was no action taken?

I’m afraid we all know the answer, and know that Anna Hazare’s campaign will not rid us of these problems. The only change that can be effective would be make the compensation for deaths due to negligence become so big that they ruin hospitals. Unfortunately, the supreme court reversed this positive step taken by the Delhi high court in a case that dragged through the system for 14 years.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 14, 2011 at 3:47 am

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