**Berhampur/Bhubaneswar**: The fire accident in SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar has brought the issue of fire safety of other private and government hospitals in sharp focus.
In the wake of this tragedy, OMMCOM team took a dip at different renowned hospitals in the State.
State Government run MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur, under the Department of Health and Family Welfare has served patients and has been alma mater to numerous doctors, staff nurses, technicians for more than 50 years, but the basic fire safety directives are flouted over there.
There are inadequate number of doctors, nurses and staff members in this hospital which is considered to be the biggest hospital in South Odisha. It is the referral hospital of many district hospitals of Koraput, Jeypore, Ganjam, Kandhamal, Phulbani, Rayagada, Boudh, Malkangiri, etc.
“In this hospital, there is an inflow of lots of patients. If fire ever breaks in this hospital, we have no water facility, sand or any fire extinguishers which can be used to douse the fire. So, it is but natural that in such a situation, the patients will face lots of problems as there are no steps taken by the government,” according to Kedarnath Naik, an attendant of a patient admitted in MKCG.
“If so many people died in a private hospital in the capital city, then in this hospital, a lot of casualties will occur if there is outbreak of fire as there are no such safety norms present here,” Tripun Saraf, a patient on visit to the Hospital.
“If there is a fire outbreak in this hospital, there is no such facility which could stop the menace. I request our Chief Minister to look into this matter as soon as possible,” said Prasant Sahu, who is attending on his brother in this hospital.
Moreover, there is no Burns ward, no ventilator facility for serious students though it is the only hospital in southern Odisha having separate forensic department, Red Cross blood bank, ophthalmology, orthopedic, oncology, neuro-surgery, nephrology, cardiology, radio-therapy, ART Centre, etc.
“Two three months back, under the direction of the government, the fire department had come and enquired about the measures which should be followed in the indoor and outdoor for fire safety. The detailed enquiry report is still awaited,” informed Prof Arun Kumar Dandapat, Dean & Principal of MKCG Medical College and Hospital.
“Under the direction of the government and the fire department, we have allotted a two-bedroom quarter in the premises of the Hospital for a mini safety unit where a vehicle will be stationed round the clock with eight fire fighters. The PWD department has already been directed to make the necessary repairs and this will be executed very soon. As we have no separate fire safety officer, respective departments take care of this issue independently. The new building which has been inaugurated in recent times have been certified by fire safety officers,” Dandapat added.
He also informed that the electric department has been asked to check the connections for any lapses. Moreover, all the doctors, nurses and the staff members in groups were taught minimum precautions to be taken in such times by a fire safety officer.
In a hospital where the inflow of patients is around 2000-3000 daily, the casual attitude of the concerned authorities is questionable.
Similarly, Kar Hospital situated at the heart of the Capital City caters to many patients from all the State.
“55 fire extinguishers are present in our hospital. The new building will be laced with all fire safety measures. As for the existing building, we are awaiting for the funds to use and develop it according to the norms,” said Capital Hospital Director Bibhudutta Pattnaik.
Speaking on fire safety norms at Capital Hospital, Bhunbaneswar MP Prasanna Kumar Patasani said: “Around Rs 85 lakh was already sanctioned to strengthen the fire safety system at Capital Hospital and I am personally monitoring it.”
The statistics are alarming. According to a note of the Director, Medical Education and Training (DMET), Odisha Government, only three corporate hospitals in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, where more than 500 private hospitals and nursing homes are operating, have fire safety certificates.