A woman medical officer and three staff nurses were arrested on Tuesday by the Ahmednagar police on the charge of causing death by negligence, three days after eleven COVID-19 patients died in a fire in the ICU of the Ahmednagar civil hospital, police said.
Medical officer Dr Vishakha Shinde, and staff nurses Sapna Pathare, Asma Shaikh and Channa Anant, were arrested under sections 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 304 A (Causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), said Manoj Patil, Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar rural police.
The state government had already suspended Ahmednagar district civil surgeon Dr Sunil Pokharna, medical officers Dr Suresh Dhakne and Dr Vishakha Shinde, and staff nurse Sapna Pathare. Services of two staff nurses, Asma Shaikh and Channa Anant, were terminated.
“Dr Vishakha Shinde was on duty (in the Ahmednagar civil hospital on November 6) but she failed to report the incident. As far as the other three staff nurses are concerned, it has been revealed in the investigation that they were outside the ICU when the fire occurred,” the SP said, adding that they were not supposed to leave the ICU.
A staff nurse’s primary job is to safeguard the patients in the event of a blaze at the ICU, he said.
Mr Patil said relatives of the patients had to rush to the ICU to save their near and dear ones while all these staff nurses were waiting outside.