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Patients died due to medical negligence during DMCH fire, relatives say

Source: , Posted On:   17 March 2021

Patients died due to medical negligence during DMCH fire, relatives say

They alleged that the patients ‘suffocated to death due to the smoke as they were not rushed out’ after fire broke out in the ICU.

Hospital authorities, on the other hand, said the victims were already in critical condition. But they did not suffocate to death as they were on ventilator support.

The fire was brought under control at about 9:30am after the COVID ward ICU on the second floor of the hospital’s new building burst into flames around 8am on Wednesday.

The ward’s 14 intensive care units housed as many patients. They were shifted to the ICU and burns section’s high dependency unit of the old building. However, three of the patients - identified as Kazi Golam Mostafa, 66, Abdullah Al Mahmud, 48, and Kishore Chandra Roy, 70 - died.

‘Rabeya’, daughter of Mostafa, told, “They ordered us out after the fire erupted. My father wouldn’t have died if we could get them out on time.”

She said her father was moved to DMCH from Uttara’s KC Hospital on Mar 11. “My father’s condition had improved a lot on Tuesday. He died simply because of neglect from authorities.”

Arifuzzaman, Mostafa’s brother-in-law, said, “He died engulfed in smoke.”

DMCH Director Brig Gen Nazmul Haque said he reached the hospital within 15 minutes after the fire broke out and treated the ICU patients himself later.

“Everyone was in critical condition. They were not relocated without oxygen. They were moved with cylinders and ventilators,” he said.

On the relatives’ complaint, he said, “These patients were on ventilators and able to breath. It does not appear that they died due to the smoke.”

“The relatives can say so because of their current mental state. But we can come to a final conclusion after an investigation.”

Drawing attention to a fire incident two months ago in the hospital, he said, “The fire today occurred from a high flow nasal cannula. We will investigate the matter.”

A patient named Mahmud Mondal was admitted in ICU ward no. 10. His relative Islanul Haque was in the hospital on Wednesday morning.

While describing the incident, he said, “Patients’ attendant in ICU no. 12 said that he tried to put out a fire which appeared in the high flow nasal cannula. Ansars were called in, but they did not arrive.

"Later as the flames spread, the opening of the central air conditioner caught fire. When the nurses were called in, they rushed out upon the sight of fire.”

“The relatives dragged out their patients, who were later taken to CCU. I carried Mahmud Mondal out on my shoulder with the high flow device attached to his nose. There were no wheelchairs or any such things inside.”

“The authorities said they died after being relocated. But I’ve seen the patients in wards 9, 8 and 11 die inside the ICU."

A native of Kachua Upazila’s Ujani village in Chandpur, Mostafa was admitted to the ICU no. 9. He was an engineer by profession.

His son ‘Azam’ said Mostafa’s face was covered in black fumes.

Director Nazmul said coronavirus patients were being treated at the new 10-storey building and the old burns unit. As many as 523 patients were admitted to the COVID unit as of Tuesday.

“Only the patients of the second floor were moved due to the fire. The rest are being treated as they were before.”

The fire left the room in ruins. The post-CCU ward is situated right beside it. A nurse assigned there said the room accommodates 19 patients. They were relocated to a different place for treatment after the fire.