–DC suggests suspension of biomedical engineer for failure to fix air conditioner
At least eight infants died at District Headquarters Teaching Hospital Sahiwal due to malfunctioning air conditioning in the children’s ward which was not fixed for over 24 hours, according to reports on Sunday.
While the hospital’s Medical Superintendent (MS) Shahid Nazeer asserted that only three newborns had lost their lives, Additional Secretary Health Rafaqat Ali confirmed that eight children had died at the facility.
Speaking to a local media outlet, the official said that statements of staff stationed at the pediatric ward have been recorded and the persons responsible will be punished after a final inquiry report of the incident is presented to him.
Taking notice of the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar tweeted that he had ordered for strict action be taken against all those responsible for the tragic incident. “Incidents like this are unacceptable in any situation,” he wrote.
ساہیوال ہسپتال میں معصوم بچوں کے جاں بحق ہونے کے واقعہ پر تحقیقات کے بعد غفلت کے ذمہ دار افراد کے خلاف سخت کارروائی کا حکم دیا ہے
ایسا واقعہ کسی صورت قابل برداشت نہیں
اس واقعہ پر پنجاب حکومت کی تمام تر ہمدردیاں جاں بحق بچوں کے لواحقین کے ساتھ ہیں
— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) June 2, 2019
Further, in a letter written to the Punjab Specialised Healthcare & Medical Education Department secretary, Sahiwal Deputy Commissioner (DC) Zaman Wattoo explained how the incident had unfolded starting with a call at 12.40am from the hospital informing him that babies had started dying due to uncontrolled temperature in the paediatric ward.
“I hurriedly reached the ward and found the air-conditioning system out of order which had resulted in abnormal indoor temperature,” he wrote, adding that the ward in-charge, Dr Sohaib, informed him that three infants had died due to “medical causes”.
“Though three deaths have been officially reported, the possibility of unreported deaths cannot be ruled out,” the DC warned.
He said he had one air-conditioning unit transferred from the MS office to the ward in view of the high temperature.
“It has been learnt that the AC system of the ward has not been functioning well for the last many days,” Wattoo wrote.
“One is appalled at the insensitivity of the administration of the hospital towards the sufferings of the patients. The ACs of empty classrooms were running whereas, the infants were crying because of high temperature.”
The DC in his letter recommended that biomedical engineer Luqman Tabish be suspended “for his failure to fix the AC issues” and an inquiry be ordered to fix responsibility on the hospital administration.