Pakistan

Sahiwal hospital's top officials face action after 11 infants die in deadly blaze

CM Maryam Nawaz orders security audits of hospitals across Punjab

By  Web Desk   |  
June 14, 2024
A general view of Sahiwal Teaching Hospital. — Screengrab/Geo News

LAHORE: A horrible blaze at Sahiwal Teaching Hospital, which claimed the lives of at least 11 infants, prompted a high-level probe following the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, who vowed exemplary punishment for those found responsible.

CM Maryam, during her visit to the affected medical facility on Friday, issued directives to include the hospital’s principal, medical superintendent (MS), assistant medical superintendent (AMS), and admin officer in the inquiry.

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She also ordered the arrest of these officers and the termination of their jobs, while reprimanding health department officials over the deadly incident. The chief minister personally reviewed the inquiry report and CCTV footage of the blaze.

According to the report, fire extinguishing equipment had expired and remained unchanged despite the top management being informed.

Additionally, the hospital staff had not received any training sessions on how to use the equipment or handle any untoward incidents, the report added.

Along with vowing penalties for those responsible, CM Maryam praised the rescuers who evacuated other children and announced prizes for them.

Punjab CM Maryam Nawaz inspects the CCTV footage at Sahiwal Teaching Hospital following deadly fire incident. — Screengrab/Geo News

She expressed dissatisfaction with the probe outcomes, which declared that the infants had died due to suffocation.

Maryam was outraged at the hospital’s management for failing to provide fire extinguishing equipment even after the fatal incident.

The chief minister was accompanied by the provincial chief secretary, the additional inspector general (AIG) of the special branch, the commissioner of the Sahiwal Division, and other senior officers.

Later, she met the patients and parents of the deceased infants and listened to their complaints.

One of the deceased babygirls' fathers, Muhammad Ali, complained about the hospital’s security guard who manhandled his elderly mother following the incident. He also demanded that the provincial government provide justice to the affected families.

Another citizen revealed that some of the security guards were involved in taking bribes from patients and attendants to enter the hospital.

Outraged by their complaints, the chief minister directed the district police officer (RPO) of Sahiwal to arrest those responsible and open an inquiry against all security guards. She also ordered security audits of hospitals across the province.

CM Maryam vowed to the affected families that the government would adopt all necessary measures to avoid such incidents. She ordered the hospital to immediately take disciplinary action against the top officers.

A devastating fire broke out at the hospital’s pediatric medicine ward on June 9 due to a short circuit in the air conditioning system, which led to the deaths of at least 11 children over a week and the destruction of medical equipment worth millions.

Following the blaze, the collective efforts of the parents, hospital and security staff, and rescuers resulted in the safe evacuation of 74 children.

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