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Pakistan

Web Desk
January 14, 2020

Sindh health minister says infant's death at NICH a 'case of negligence'

Pakistan

Web Desk
Tue, Jan 14, 2020

KARACHI: Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said Tuesday the death of a child at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) was a case of "negligence" by the authorities. 

Speaking to Geo News, she said officials had informed her that "the incubator caught fire and the child who was inside it, as a result burnt to death.

"The event is very unfortunate and it is a case of negligence by the authorities," the minister said, asking: "Who was on duty, how did the incubator catch fire, did the plug catch fire?

"If it [plug] did, they should have immediately plugged it out and the incident could have been avoided," Pechuho noted. She also lamented that the incident had struck her and that she was 'very sad' to hear about the child's demise.

"I feel sorry for the parents, I don’t know how will I be able to face them," she said.

Sources had earlier said the cause of death was "electrocution and asphyxiation". The fire had also damaged a fan and the incubator's wires.

Committee's findings

An inquiry committee, formed by Sindh health department to probe the death, expressed serious concerns on Tuesday over the delay by the facility's officials.

In its initial report, the committee said the institute's executive director, additional director, and other concerned officials had reached three hours after the incident.

According to the family's recorded statement, the incident took place at 1600 hours, while rescue operations were initiated after two hours, at 1822 hours.  Such conduct by the administration depicted "unprofessionalism" and a  "lack of administrative qualities", the report noted.

Surprisingly, there was a single gate for patients to enter and exit, whereas the incubators were placed at the entrance door. There were no emergency exits.

It was found that the burnt incubator's warranty had already expired and no service agreement was made with the service provider for its inspection and maintenance.

—With additional reporting from PPI