Bhubaneswar: A pall of gloom hung over the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital in the Odisha capital on Tuesday, a day after a major blaze in the hospital’s dialysis ICU wing led to 20 deaths.
Family members and relatives of victims broke down at the nearby Capital Hospital, where the dead were brought for autopsy.
“My mother-in-law, P. Kalyani Patro was admitted in the SUM hospital on October 13. She was suffering from fever and was about to be discharged on Tuesday,” said Arjun Patro.
Kalyani Patro died due to suffocation in the fire. “The staff did not allow us to enter the Intensive Care Unit and bring her out,” her son-in-law said. She was from Kabisuryanagar in Ganjam district, around 180 km from here.
“We were asked to leave the hospital after thick smoke emanated from the building. Had they allowed us to enter into the ICU, my mother-in-law could have been saved,” said Patro.
There was complete mayhem and chaos as hundreds of patients and attendants tried to escape the blaze, said several eyewitnesses.
On Monday evening, a huge fire broke out in the second floor of SUM Hospital, that housed the intensive care unit (ICU) of the dialysis ward.
“I could not decide where to go with my son after I saw the thick smoke coming out from the second floor,” said Dora Pradhan.
His son, Shiva Pradhan was operated on Monday following a bike accident. “I felt helpless. There were five-six persons I asked for help. But, they were busy rescuing others,” said the father from Khurdha district.
Pradhan, who escaped the tragedy, is grateful to two others from his village, who helped them.
Even after escaping the inferno, helpless and distraught relatives scampered around several city hospitals searching for their near and dear ones, as most surviving patients were shifted, while the dead were sent for autopsy.
“I had admitted my father in the cardiology department of SUM Hospital for treatment. After the fire started, they disallowed entry to the department,” said Jagannath Pradhan.
“I searched for him in every city hospital as they did not give out any information. Finally, I traced him to the Capital Hospital,” said Pradhan.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited several hospitals to inquire about the patients.
The state government said that with the death of one more person at AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, the number of dead had reached 20 on Tuesday.