KEM hospital fire: Baby who lost arm must get compensation, say corporators

Updated: Nov 14, 2019, 07:32 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Demand sacking of KEM hospital dean; civic body says does not have compensation policy

Prince Rajbhar's left arm, which was badly burnt in a fire in the KEM ICU last week, was amputated on Monday
Prince Rajbhar's left arm, which was badly burnt in a fire in the KEM ICU last week, was amputated on Monday

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration has refused to compensate the two-month-old baby who lost his arm after a fire at KEM Hospital left him with severe burns. During the standing committee meeting on Wednesday, corporators from across parties demanded that the child's kin be compensated and the head of KEM Hospital be suspended.'

Baby Prince Rajbhar, who was placed in a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at KEM Hospital, a civic hospital in Parel, suffered 22 per cent burns around midnight on Wednesday last week. His left arm was amputated on Monday evening. Also suffering from congenital heart disease, he continues to be in a ventilator.

"Prince and other victims are not getting compensation as there isn't any policy for it. The policy is a long-standing demand, but the BMC administration has turned a blind eye towards it, " said Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party in the BMC. He demanded Rs 10 lakh for Prince on the lines of the of the compensation given to the victims of the Malad water reservoir wall collapse.

But Additional Municipal Commissioner Pravin Darade refused to declare any compensation. "A detailed inquiry will be conducted and action will be taken accordingly,"
he said.

Victims of the wall collapse earlier this year were given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh by both, the BMC and the state government while the inquiry was being carried out.

Standing committee member, Prabhakar Shinde, demanded immediate suspension of the KEM Dean Dr. Hemant Deshmukh. "The inquiry can be done while the concerned officer is on suspension. Don't take action only against the junior staff," he said.

Rajeshree Shirvadkar, member of the standing committee asked the administration to explain their stand on the issue. Ravi Raja, leader of the opposition said that if BMC can shower crores of rupees on paperwork and consultation for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, why not for Prince's family? "Why doesn't BMC declare compensation for a child who has lost his arm?" said Raja.

A policy for compensation for victims of various mishaps has been a long-pending demand of corporators. However, except in the case of victims of tree-falls, the BMC does not have a compensation policy.

"Compensation has to be given in this case. In fact, the BMC can be prosecuted for negligence. It won't be an ordinary compensation as it would also commensurate with the loss of a limb that is going to affect the child's life and ability to earn in the future," said advocate Rizwan Merchant.

Dr Suleiman Merchant, former dean of Sion Hospital, said, "It was an accident and wasn't really anyone's fault. However, it happened on the premises of the hospital and the loss of a limb will have a psychological effect on the child. As a goodwill gesture, the BMC can offer an artificial limb. It'll help the child feel equal to others around him." He added that either the BMC can finance it or opt for crowdfunding.

Prince has congenital heart disease and had pneumonia when he was admitted to KEM Hospital earlier this month. An inquiry will be carried out by the civic body's Mechanical and Electrical Department. Dr Ramesh Bharmal, the director of major civic hospitals, will be monitoring it.

In July this year, the BMC administration, in a written response to corporators' demand for a compensation policy for various mishaps, had said during the general body meeting that it would not be possible. "Many projects are undertaken by contractors and the compensation will be given under the general conditions of the contract," Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi had said then.

Infant's father files FIR against KEM staff

The Bhoiwada cops have an filed an FIR against the employees responsible for maintenance of electrical equipment in the ward where an infant's hand was burnt in the fire in the ICU at KEM hospital. The infant, Prince Rajbhar's, father Pannilal approached the police on Wednesday. The baby, Prince Rajbhar's, left arm had to be amputated on Monday. The FIR has is filed under IPC section 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others). "We have filed a case against unknown people," said an officer from Bhoiwada police station. Anurag Kamble

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