Parents of newborns clueless as firefighters toiled to douse blaze

| | New Delhi
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Parents of newborns clueless as firefighters toiled to douse blaze

Tuesday, 28 May 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

As firefighters toiled to douse a massive fire at a private neonatal hospital here on Saturday night, many parents whose newborns were admitted to the facility had no clue what was going on.

Madhuraj Kumar, a painter, whose eight-day-old son was among the fortunate survivors, found out about the fire when he saw the charred hospital building on his way to work on Sunday morning. Similarly, no one from the hospital reached out to Deepak Gautam, whose six-day-old daughter was admitted there. His sister informed him about the fire after she saw it on the news.

Families of Madhuraj Kumar, Gautam and others blame the hospital for negligence but are glad that their children survived.

Seven newborns died and five were injured in a massive fire at Baby Care New Born Hospital in east Delhi’s Vivek Vihar that was allegedly operating illegally with an “expired” licence and had no clearance from the fire department.

Hospital owner Dr Naveen Khichi and Dr Aaksh, who was on duty at the time of the incident, were arrested on Sunday.

“My son was born eight days ago and was shifted to the baby care unit for observation since he was a premature child. He was doing fine and doctors had said he would be discharged on Sunday.

“On Sunday morning, I was going to Karn Vihar in Karkardooma for work and passed by the charred hospital building,” said Madhuraj Kumar, a native of Banthala in Uttar Pradesh.

The worried father then asked those at the spot about the whereabouts of the newborns admitted to the hospital and was told that they were shifted to another child care centre.

“Initially, I was very worried about my child. But I was very happy when I found him alive,” said Madhuraj Kumar.

 In the evening, some government officials came and referred the newborns to different hospitals, he said.

He said his son has an infection but his condition is improving now. Madhuraj Kumar told his wife about the incident on Sunday evening.

Gautam, a resident of Ram Nagar near Mandoli Road who works with a private firm, said he was informed about the fire by his sister and not the hospital authorities.

“We did not receive any information from the hospital. My sister saw it on the news and informed me.

“My daughter was born on May 22 at a hospital in Yamuna Vihar and was shifted to the child care unit the same day as she was not crying and had a blood infection,” he said.

I have a son and this is my second child. When my daughter was born, I was happy that my family was now complete. The incident initially shook me but in the end, my prayers were answered and she was alive,” he added.

Gautam said he is yet to tell his wife about the incident.

Rakesh Kumar, who works with a private firm, and Mithilesh Kumar, an online bike rider, said they were also not informed about the fire by the hospital authorities and saw it on the news.

Rakesh Kumar’s daughter, a premature baby, was injured in the incident.

“The hospital was not very spacious. My daughter was on a ventilator. She received some burn injuries and her condition is still critical. She has been admitted to Chacha Nehru Hospital. Doctors are saying that she will be on a ventilator for another 15 days,” Rakesh Kumar said.

 Mithilesh Kumar’s son was admitted to the hospital with jaundice and breathing issues.

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