KEM Hospital fire: Machine that burnt baby had been donated in 2017

Updated: 26 November, 2019 17:46 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Baby Prince's parents bid him tearful farewell; BMC hands over Rs 10 lakh compensation.

Pannelal Rajbhar with Prince's body on Monday
Pannelal Rajbhar with Prince's body on Monday

A report of the enquiry into the fire that occurred in baby Prince Rajbhar's ventilator at KEM Hospital on November 7 was submitted to the civic body by Dr. R N Bharmal, medical director of major civic hospitals, on Monday.

"We could not examine the core evidence, including the machine and the burnt wires. That is the deficiency in the report. We have also submitted documents about the equipment," said Dr. Bharmal. He added that certain recommendations were made in the report, though he did not elaborate on them. He added that the equipment called Multiparameter Patient Monitor was one of the five pieces of equipment that were donated to the hospital in 2017.

Hospital sources said that the equipment was donated by Thyssenkrupp Elevator (India) and is manufactured by Schiller, which has been given a maintenance contract that expires in 2022. "The equipment was last serviced in September and has never malfunctioned since it was brought to the hospital until the day of the fire. Even after the fire, the machine wasn't damaged and was functioning normally. The issue seemed to be with only the cables," said the hospital official.

Prince Rajbhar's mother at KEM Hospital. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Prince Rajbhar's mother at KEM Hospital. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Teary farewell
Pannelal Rajbhar and his wife, who had brought their son Prince to Mumbai with the hope of getting him better, ended up performing his last rites on Monday. While their quest for justice continues, the hospital administration gave them R10 lakh as financial assistance. Civic chief Praveen Pardeshi said the outcome of the enquiry will also determine whether Prince's family is also entitled to compensation.

"Once the policy is in place, we will be able to define when to pay compensation and when to give financial assistance. For compensation, there has to be a liability on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration," said Pardeshi.

Prince, who was being treated for congenital heart disease, suffered 22 per cent burns in the fire. The injuries led to his left arm being amputated. He died on November 22. The last rites were performed at a Hindu cemetery in Bhoiwada. The parents were accompanied by BJP MLA Tamil Selvan. "The post mortem report clearly states that the baby died because of the injuries he suffered in the fire. The baby died due to negligent behaviour; the staff members present in the ICU at the time of the incident have to be held responsible," said Selvan.

Tamil Selvan, BJP MLA
Tamil Selvan, BJP MLA

Meanwhile, the post-mortem report is yet to be submitted to the Bhoiwada police. "We have also been asking about the staff present in the ICU on the night of the incident, but they haven't given anything in writing," said a police officer from Bhoiwada police. The police also conducted an analysis of the equipment but are yet to receive the report.

A spokesperson from Schiller told mid-day, "The machine supplied by Schiller to KEM was a Multiparameter Monitor. All our machines are fully compliant with regards to all International Certifications, standards and safety parameters as required. Over 25,000 such machines have been supplied by us in India and abroad and there has never been any incident of this nature."

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  • 1/15

    On November 6, two-month-old Prince Rajbhar, who was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU) at KEM, suffered burns after a fire broke out there around midnight. The baby, who was admitted to the hospital two days ago suffered 22 percent burns. Referring to the fire as an 'accident', Dr. Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM hospital said that the hospital staff was able to douse the fire within minutes using blankets.

  • 2/15

    Baby Prince suffered burns on his arm, shoulder, and scalp. Prince's father Pannelal Rajbhar said they were sleeping outside the ICU when the fire started. He also mentioned that his son has a hole in his heart and they brought him to Mumbai for his treatment.

    (Representational image)

  • 3/15

    A day after the child suffered 22 percent burns on his arm, shoulder, and scalp, the KEM hospital management said they would treat the child free of cost. The hospital, however, did not offer any compensation to his parents, who brought their child to Mumbai from Varanasi for their son's treatment. After the incident, Prince's father alleged that the hospital staff informed the parents about the burn only an hour later. 

    (Representational image)

  • 4/15

    On November 8, the leader of Opposition Ravi Raja demanded compensation for the family and a third-party inquiry into the incident. He also wrote a letter addressing BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi, demanding compensation for the child's family. He met Ashwini Joshi, additional municipal commissioner, health. In his letter, Raja alleged that the incident was KEM Hospital's fault and the family must be compensated. 

    (Representational Image)

  • 5/15

    A few days later after Prince suffered 22 percent burns, his arm was amputated. On November 11, 2019, plastic surgeons operated on Prince and amputated his left arm. Doctors from the plastic surgery department of KEM hospital said they gave Prince the same treatment that is given to all burn patients but the condition of the arm didn't improve. 

    (Representational image)

  • 6/15

    Post the amputation of his son's arms, Prince's father said, "We have been cooperating with the hospital. But now he has lost his arm and his life has changed forever. He will have special needs and I will have to work harder to be able to afford it. The hospital should take some responsibility for the incident and offer some financial help." 

    (Representational Image)

  • 7/15

    After losing his arm, Prince was in a stable condition but he was still on the ventilator. According to Dr. Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM hospital, the child received blood transfusions and also underwent mid-arm amputation. Deshmukh further said that the boy is on basic ventilator settings and there was no bleeding from the wound. He also asserted that the Prince is conscious and moving

  • 8/15

    While corporators across parties demanded to sack the dean of KEM hospital, the BMC in its response said that the fire in baby Prince Rajbhar’s ventilator was an accident and that there was no negligence on part of the KEM Hospital where the child is being treated. The BMC administration also cited the lack of a policy on compensation to which Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, in turn, said that he would take a call on a policy in a group leaders' meeting

  • 9/15

    When the parents and local corporators put forth their view of the child being compensated, the BMC administration refused to compensate the two-month-old baby who lost his arm in the KEM hospital fire. Meanwhile, on November 13, Prince's father filed an FIR against the employees responsible for maintenance of electrical equipment in the hospital ward at Bhoiwada police station. The FIR has is filed under IPC section 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others)

  • 10/15

    A few days later, the BMC agreed to offer Rs 5 lakh as compensation to Prince's father Pannelal Rajbhar. However, he rejected the offer and along with BJP MLA Tamil Selvan met BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi and demanded a higher sum. Amidst all of this, the boy continued to remain on the ventilator

  • 11/15

    In photo: Baby Prince's father and mother along with BJP MLA Tamil Selvan put forth their demand before BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi at the BMC headquarters located in Fort

  • 12/15

    On November 20, it was decided that each of the families of Baby Prince and Rajesh Maru would be given Rs 10 lakh compensation. The group leaders' meeting also decided to form a comprehensive policy for compensating victims of civic negligence or those affected by accidents on BMC-run premises. While baby Prince had suffered in the KEM fire, Rajesh Maru died after he entered the MRI room at Nair Hospital with an oxygen cylinder and got sucked into the machine

  • 13/15

    On November 22, KEM hospital doctors informed that Baby Prince's chest infection was growing and he had become very unstable. They also informed that they have been administering antibiotics to control the infection. There was also a growing concern among his doctors that there would be fewer chances of Prince's survival, as long as the baby remains on life support. 

    (Representational Image)

  • 14/15

    Dr. Mukesh Agarwal, head of the pediatric department of KEM hospital said, "The child cannot be kept on ventilator forever. When we tried reducing the ventilator support, his condition deteriorated. We are giving him medicines to treat his low blood pressure and antibiotics for the chest infection. We will continue monitoring him." 

    (Representational Image)


  • 15/15

    On November 22, baby Prince, who suffered severe burns in the KEM fire, died of a cardiac arrest at around 2.45am. A civic official said, "Prince was put on maximum ventilator support and his condition deteriorated on Thursday night. He suffered a cardiac arrest at 2.45 am and could not be revived," reported news agency ANI. 

    (Representational Image)

First Published: 26 November, 2019 07:06 IST

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