“The baby looked so healthy and I held her in my arms just five minutes before the incident occurred. The next time I saw her, the baby was charred,” said Namrata Hirekurubaru, cousin of Swati Kadam whose newborn baby girl died due to burn injuries at Vatsalya hospital in Budhwar Peth early on Thursday.
The baby’s relatives gathered on Thursday at Sassoon General Hospital where the auto-rickshaw of Vijendra, the father of the newborn, was used to take the body for final rites at Vaikunth crematorium. “We were looking forward to welcome our baby,” he cried while his sister, Vidya Gaikwad, wondered how they would tell Swati that the baby was no more. “We have so much trust in doctors and follow what they tell us. There should have been a constant attendant at the warmer, checking the temperature and been on alert. I was standing there when a helper told me to go back to the room. Barely had I turned that there was a spark and the warmer caught fire,” Vidya said.
Swati had undergone a C-Section and delivered a baby girl on September 26. The baby, as per the paediatrician’s advice, was placed in the warmer at the four-bed Vatsalaya hospital. However, according to the police, the warmer caught fire due to a suspected short circuit. The baby was rushed to Shaishav hospital and later to Sassoon hospital where she succumbed to the burn injuries in the wee hours of Thursday morning. “My wife does not know the baby has passed away,” Vijendra said as he completed the formalities at Sassoon general hospital. Swati’s brother, Mayur, said she had not even seen the baby.
Dr Gaurav Chopde, who owns the hospital, told The Indian Express that it was an unfortunate accident. “The warmer had been purchased in August 2016. Just a day ago, the annual servicing of the warmer had been done by the company technicians and it was functioning well. The baby had been in respiratory distress and had been placed in the warmer earlier. The minute the accident occurred, I decided to take the baby on my scooter to Shaishav hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive,” he said. “I have been cooperating with the police and the family members,” he added.
At the Indian Medical Association, Dr Jayant Navrange, chief of the medico legal cell, said it was a case of an accident. “This is a 34-year-old hospital and Dr Chopde had recently acquired it. We have checked the licences and other relevant documents which seem to be in order. While Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has issued a show-cause notice restraining the doctor to admit new patients to his hospital, IMA authorities have appealed the civic administration to allow him to do so,” he said. Dean of Sassoon General hospital, Dr Ajay Chandanwale, said they had been asked by the police to conduct a technical inspection of the warmer.
Meanwhile, undertaking preliminary inquiry into the case, the PMC has sought details of the warmer that was being used in the hospital to ascertain its quality.