June 14, 2024
Delhi hospital fire: owner tells police he hired persons without MBBS degree to save money

The blaze in east Delhi’s Baby Care New Born Child Hospital on Saturday, in which seven newborns were killed and five injured, broke out due to a short circuit on the terrace of the two-storey building where a generator was kept next to an oxygen cylinder, the police probe has revealed.

The police have also found that the hospital had only one qualified doctor — its owner and main accused Dr. Naveen Khichi. Three other persons working as “doctors” at the medical facility held Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMS) degrees and were appointed in place of actual doctors to save costs, the owner told the police. The police have asked the three, along with nurses and paramedical staff of the hospital, to submit their certificates.

Dr. Khichi and another person who was on duty at the time of the incident were remanded in police custody for three days after being produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidhi Gupta Anand on Monday.

‘Paid ₹40,000 a month’

Upon interrogation, Dr. Khichi told the police that he had appointed three persons with BMS degrees as “the infants who came to our hospital did not need much treatment.” The main accused said he had appointed the BMS degree holders at a monthly salary of ₹40,000, said a senior officer.

The police also found that the medical facility was running in violation of several rules. “Under the Nursing Homes Registration (Amendment) Rules, 2011, there should be a minimum 4.65 sq. m gap between hospital beds and one nurse for every bed. Both these rules were being flouted,” said DCP (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhury.

“It is also mandatory for the RMO [resident medical officer] of every hospital to have an MBBS degree. But at Baby Care New Born Child Hospital, the RMO only had a BMS degree,” he said. The DCP added that on the day of the incident, three nurses were tending to 12 infants.

Based on the analysis of the hospital’s CCTV footage on the day of the incident, the police also found that the PCR call regarding the blaze was received at 11.30 p.m., 35 minutes after the fire broke out.

A senior officer said they will question the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) officer who issued the hospital’s licence, which expired on March 31.

The accused

Dr. Khichi, who has been booked under various sections, including IPC Sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), earned his MBBS degree from Maulana Azad Medical College in 2005 and an MD in Pediatric Medicine from Lady Hardinge College in 2009. He completed his residency at the same college and started his private practice at Paschim Puri residence in 2013. He launched Baby Care New Born Child Hospital in Vivek Vihar B block in 2016 before shifting it to its current address in C block.

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