Yet another avoidable carnage claims five lives
Five Coronavirus patients had died of a heartrending tragedy at the city's United Hospital fire incident last Wednesday. They died in a fire that broke out at the hospital's Corona isolation unit. This is not the first time that the upmarket hospital has come under the spotlight. Accusations against the hospital authority range from negligence in treatment, sexual offence, and exorbitant price tag for medical treatments to poor compliance system. Now pitiable health and safety apparatus has been added to the long list.
Media reports clearly suggest that the hospital had evidently lacked in proper and functional health & safety mechanism. It has been reported that 8 out of 11 fire extinguishers were date expired. The partitions and ceiling of the makeshift corona isolation unit were set up with inflammable construction materials. Additionally, there was no fire fighting plan in case a fire had broke out.
The devastating fire, which reportedly started from an air-conditioning unit in one of the four rooms instantly spread on the five senior bed-bound patients, who could not get up and escape. What can be more dreadful than this utter state of vulnerability?
And that's not all, the newly extended Corona ward of the hospital lacked fire safety tools and was built in violation of the Bangladesh National Building Code. The main building was equipped with a fire hydrant but the extended unit was not. The extension did not have a fire exit either. Most importantly, probabilities of a fire incident were not clearly assessed in advance.
Our point in case, people gets admitted to hospitals to recover. Not to get killed in a physically ill state because of avoidable carnage incidents. The United Hospital authorities cannot escape penalty for all the reported allegations. We repeat, the culprits must not be allowed to roam about scot-free. Additionally, the family members of the victims should be appropriately compensated, though the lives lost will never comeback.
The bitter lesson learnt amid the avoidable carnage: The government will need to move quickly to ensure that all newly built Corona units of all hospitals are convincingly safe and secured.
Apart from executing a rapid and in - depth investigation into the United Hospital carnage, we call for a quick health & safety compliance audit carried out at all our hospitals. Procrastination must be shunned in doing it.