KARACHI          -          Another incident of negligence on the part of hospital staff was reported here on Thursday when a newly born child died after an incubator she had been placed in caught fire at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH).

The hospital administration confirmed that the incubator at the Sindh’s largest public-sector hospital for children became dysfunctional due to short-circuiting. The short-circuiting led to a fire, resulting in the death of two-day-old infant due to suffocation and smoke inhalation.

The authorities claimed that a swift action was taken to extinguish the fire and evacuate the other patients from the ward at the second floor of the hospital. 

“It began with a breakdown of equipment, leading to a fire at the surgical ward,” said NICH Executive Director Dr Jamal Raza, adding that the hospital staff succeeded in evacuating the patients and extinguishing the fire, but failed to save the baby.

However, the hospital authorities apparently tried to hush up the incident as no criminal action was initiated against those members of the hospital staff, whose negligence led to the incident, claiming an innocent life.

The police was not informed of the incident. However, SHO Saddar said that police had conducted a preliminary probe into the incident on their own.

“The victim’s family took away the body, without letting the police complete medico-legal formalities,” he said.

Taking notice of the incident, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has sought a report from the facility’s executive director.

The CM also regretted the infant’s death, and directed the hospital administration to take necessary measures to avoid such incidents in future, the chief minister’s spokesperson said in a statement.

The hospital’s administration and the provincial health department have launched separate inquiries into the incident.

The health department’s committee, to be headed by the administration special secretary, will be comprised of Dr Sikandar Memon, Programme Manager of Sindh HIV/AIDS Control Programme, Dr Zulfiqar, director of the Electro-Medical Workshop, Jamshoro and Dr Rubina, Additional Medical Superintendent of Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, according to the notification.

The committee has been directed to submit its report within three days.