KEM fire accidental, no one to blame: BMC


Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Joshi on Friday said the fire in KEM Hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit, which claimed the life of three-month old Prince Rajbhar was accidental, and no one can be blamed for it. She said the Brihanmumbai Corporation (BMC) has concluded its inquiry and an investigation will only be carried out by the police. She said, “I have asked the chief fire officer to analyse the entire incident. But our enquiry does not pin the blame on anyone. It was an accidental fire.”

Prince was connected to a bedside multi-parameter patient monitor, which was one of the five machines donated to the hospital in 2017. “The machine belongs to a healthcare equipment manufacturing company called Schiller,” said Ms. Joshi. The four other machines have been functioning normally and are still in use even after the fire incident, and the machine’s last maintenance was in September, she said.

“This particular machine was connected in the same electrical socket as the others,” she said. The machine, cables, bed covers, and so on have been seized by the police for investigation, she said.

A multi-parameter patient monitor consists of one or more sensors that help relay the patient’s clinical parameters on to a monitor. According to Dr. Mukesh Agarwal, head of paediatrics, the machine in question was a five lead multi-parameter patient monitor. “The ECG cable divided into four cables was attached to the patient’s chest and limbs [two to the wrists and one to the ankle]. Another cable, the oxygen probe, was attached to the patient’s finger,” said Dr. Agarwal. These cables are known to carry very low voltage, he said.

The ECG cable next to the baby caught fire, causing him burn injuries. The wires had melted in the fire and the impact led to the burning of the bed and bed covers, causing a lot of smoke in the ward. A resident doctor is said to have doused the fire with the help of a blanket.

Dr. Agarwal, who has been practicing for the past 35 years, said he has never witnessed such an incident. “There is literature on ECG cables burning when patients were undergoing magnetic resonance imaging. But then there is a presence of a magnetic field during an MRI,” said Dr. Agarwal.

When The Hindu reached out to Schiller India, a spokesperson said all their machines are fully compliant with regard to certifications, standards and safety parameters. “More than 25,000 such machines have already been supplied by us in India and abroad and there has never been any incident of this nature,” the spokesperson said. The company cannot mention anything further as the matter is being investigated, the spokesperson said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 3:02:49 AM |

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