Rajkot: SC terms death of 6 patients ‘shocking’

Rajkot: SC terms death of 6 patients ‘shocking’

RAJKOT [Maha Media]: The Supreme Court on Friday took a strong exception of a fire incident in a Rajkot hospital in Gujarat, where 6 patients died in the blaze.

Expressing anguish over the incident, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan termed it "shocking".

The top court said that the Gujarat government must be answerable. The bench, also comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, said there can't just be an inquiry and report.

"Those who are responsible must be brought to book," it added and directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the matter.

Supreme Court made these observations during the hearing of suo moto case in connection with proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals.

The Rajkot hospital fire resulted in the death of six patients in the ICU of a Covid-19 dedicated hospital. The top court said fire incidents in hospitals killing patients are recurring in states and one hospital after another, and there is no action taken by states to prevent fire.

The top court sought response from the Centre, as well as Gujarat by December 1.

The top court also took strong exception to large gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic and cited that 80 per cent are not wearing masks and the rest who are wearing have the masks hanging from their jaws.

The bench said the things are going from bad to worse and the Centre and state governments should solidly implement the guidelines to contain further surge in pandemic patients' numbers.

The top court emphasised that in the absence of vaccine, norms to be observed for fighting the pandemic should be a priority.

"But what is the situation on ground? Union government must take lead to implement the guidelines across India. Harsher measures are needed," said the top court.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief over the loss of lives of Covid-19 patients in a fire accident at a hospital in Rajkot. 

Terming the blaze as "a tragedy beyond words", the President offered condolences saying, "In this agonising time, I offer my heartfelt empathy for the bereaved families. I pray for speedy recovery for the injured." 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said, "Extremely pained by the loss of lives due to a hospital fire in Rajkot. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate tragedy. Praying for a quick recovery of the injured. The administration is ensuring all possible assistance to those affected."

According to the state administration, 31 patients were taking treatment at the hospital when fire broke out at 12.30 am in the ICU ward located on the first floor of the Uday Shivanand Hospital.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said 26 other patients undergoing treatment at the hospital were rescued and shifted to other facilities.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed grief over the incident and ordered a probe into it. He also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each deceased.

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