The death toll in Bhubaneswar’s SUM hospital fire mishap mounted to 24 after three more patients died while undergoing treatment at the Capital Hospital and SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. Official sources said Biswanath Behera of Bhubaneswar, Sk Qurban of Khurda and Rashmita Swain of Puri succumbed to their injuries after being under treatment since the Monday night’s fire mishap. On Monday night, 21 patients, many of them under treatment at ICU or taking dialysis, were killed and over 100 were injured by toxic fumes from a blaze that swept through the hospital corridors and wards asphyxiating them.
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Behera, 52, suffering from blood cancer was under treatment at SUM hospital since last three months. After the fire mishap, he was shifted to AIIMS, but again brought back to SUM Hospital on October 19 at the insistence of its authorities. As his condition deteriorated he was again shifted to Capital Hospital where doctors declared him to be dead on arrival last night.
Sk Qurban of Khurda was shifted to ICU of government-run SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack from SUM after the fire. He breathed his last this morning.
The third victim, Swain, was admitted to the SUM hospital on the morning the fire tragedy happened, but was shifted to Capital Hospital the same night. Though she was initially discharged from the Capital hospital, her condition deteriorated following which the family members admitted her again to the Capital Hospital on Thursday. She died there Thursday night.
While the state government has announced Rs 5 lakh for the deceased, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared another Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia for the deceased and Rs 50, 000 each for the injured. The SUM hospital authorities reportedly declared Rs 5 lakh as assistance for the families of the deceased.
The 1000-bed hospital is now facing uncertain future with the arrest of its owner Manoj Nayak on charges of negligence which led to the death of 24 patients and injury to over 100 others. Nayak would be interrogated by police from today for next two days to determine his negligence.
The health department, which in April this year had renewed its licence to operate under Odisha Clinical Establishment Act despite no fire safety clearance, has now served closure notice on it. The Enforcement Directorate too has started its probe in the financial dealings of the hospital.
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