The private Sum Hospital in Odisha allegedly lost its accreditation two months ago and had not renewed its fire no-objection certificate (NoC) after a 2013 audit, according to the Indian Express. The paper quoted Dr KK Kalra, CEO of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers as saying that the hospital, ravaged by a fire that killed 20 people and injured 100 others, "was found to be lacking in overall compliance" to their standards.
Four officials, including the Superintendent, of a private hospital were arrested and four employees suspended, a day after the massive blaze broke out in the ICU and the dialysis ward. Over 100 patients were shifted elsewhere for treatment.
Arrests were made shortly after Odisha government filed two FIRs alleging negligence in conduct and safety against Sum Hospital. Two separate FIRs were lodged by Joint Director of the Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Umakanta Satpathy and Fire Officer (Central Circle) B B Das with Khandagiri police station.
Sources who were not named by the paper said the hospital's NABH inspection report pointed at "serious deficiencies in almost every chapter pertaining to patient safety and overall intent".
"In 2013, we had conducted a fire safety audit in all private hospitals, including SUM, across the state. We prepared a standard operating procedure and issued safety guidelines for hospitals. Not only SUM, several other hospitals have not yet carried out our proposals," a fire service officer told Times of India.
In 2011 a massive fire in Kolkata's AMRI Hospital killed 89 people.
However, hospitals across the country do not seem to have taken any lessons from that tragedy.
The Business Standard reported that according to a note prepared by the Director, Medical Education and Training (DMET) of the Odisha government, only three corporate hospitals in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, out of 500 private hospitals and nursing homes, have fire safety certificates. Needless to say, SUM is not on that list.
(With inputs from PTI)