Fireplace in Baghdad hospital kills dozens of COVID-19 sufferers

Baghdad: Dozens of COVID-19 sufferers have died in an Iraqi hospital, a neighborhood official mentioned, after a blaze ripped by means of an intensive care ward.

Iraq’s coronavirus caseload is spiking, and the victims, officers mentioned, have been being handled for life-threatening signs. Early studies recommended that the hearth at Baghdad’s Ibn Khatib hospital started on Saturday (Iraq time) in an space used for storing oxygen canisters earlier than engulfing a ward of sufferers barely capable of breathe and unable to maneuver.

Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has known as for an investigation into the hearth.Credit score:AP

As video footage of the blaze unfold throughout social media, Iraq’s well being ministry issued no assertion and didn’t reply to telephone requires remark.

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, issued a press release early on Sunday calling for an investigation into the reason for the hearth.

Iraq’s well being system was on its knees earlier than the coronavirus pandemic started, gutted by a long time of corruption, mismanagement and underfunding. In interviews Saturday, medical doctors described exceptional pressures: Some mentioned they’d confronted strain to return to work of their understaffed wards, regardless of a constructive coronavirus analysis; a number of mentioned that they’d feared for sufferers they handled in rundown wards the place electrical energy cables visibly sparked from the ceiling.

Within the hours after the blaze, it was unclear how the hearth started.

A physician within the hospital who spoke on the situation of anonymity, fearing reprisals from his employer, mentioned that oxygen canisters have been saved haphazardly, with little obvious concern for security. Describing the scene within the intensive care unit early Sunday, the physician mentioned the partitions have been “black as coal.”

“I can’t think about the distress individuals suffered right here,” the physician mentioned. “They couldn’t breathe with out machines, and but the hearth got here to them.”

A spokesman for Iraq’s civil defence pressure, Maj. Gen. Kadhim Bohan, mentioned that the useless have been principally older individuals on ventilators.

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