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Hospitals blind to safety rules

RANCHI: Even small and ill-maintained nursing homes and hospitals in the capital make huge profit in name of providing best medical care but unfortunately never spend even a small part of their booty to install fire-fighting equipment.

These institutions do not even bother to train doctors and employees to tackle an emergency in case of fire or earthquake.
A random check by TOI at dozen-odd hospitals and nursing homes revealed that in case of a fire instead of saving lives of patients, doctors and paramedical staff will first run to save themselves very much like what happened at AMRI, Kolkata, on Friday.

None of the doctors or paramedical staff in nursing homes and hospitals is trained to use fire extinguishers and water cannons be it at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) or Sadar Hospital. These two hospitals cater to thousands of patients not only from the state capital but even from far-off places within Jharkhand and bordering districts of West Bengal and Bihar.

Sadar Hospital does not have fire extinguisher on its premises. Deputy superintendent A K Jha said: "We don't have fire extinguishers as for now but we will arrange them soon. There are two emergency doors and windows in the hospital which have been marked for safe exit in case of fire." He added that all the shortfalls would not be there in the under-construction new building.

Project engineer Chandan Chaudhary said, "We will have water sprinklers, automatic fire detection system, LPG gas sensor, automatic conference system and beam sensor which will be helpful in case of fire."

RIMS, which has a few fire extinguishers placed here and there, has never conducted a mock drill. "A situation of fire never arose in the hospital. We will obviously try to save the patients in such cases," said a staff but when asked how he did not have an answer.

RIMS director Tulsi Mahato confided that they never had a mock drill to train people to tackle emergency. Even the fire extinguisher outside his chamber had expired. When this was brought to his notice, he claimed, "Even if it has expried, it will work."

Former Indian Medical Association (IMA) national vice-president Ajay Kumar Singh, who also manages a private nursing home in Ranchi, also admitted that most doctors and paramedical staff in the state are not trained to handle such situations. "It is very unfortunate but we have to admit that doctors and paramedical staff are not trained to tackle fire or earthquake," said Singh. "We don't have hospitals and nursing home establishment act in the state which forces these institutions to at least have minimum arrangement to tackle such situation," he added.

CCL's Gandhinagar Central Hospital (GCH) and Kashyap Memorial Eye Hospital (KMEH) have fire-fighting arrangements. GCH Hospital security officer B N Singh said that there are 30 fire extinguishers in the hospital which are replaced every three months. "We conduct mock drills every three months and when we change the fire extinguishers, we use the old one to train the staff to use them," said Singh.



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