United Hospital fire: High Court orders settlement over damages

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-06-30 03:23:46 BdST

The High Court has ordered United Hospital to reach a settlement over compensation with the families of five patients who died in a fire incident.

Justice M Enayetur Rahim on Monday adjourned the hearing until Jul 13 and asked the private hospital to reach the settlement by then after hearing three writ petitions online.

The judge also ordered the police to finish the investigation into a case against United officials and health workers on charges of negligence leading to the deaths of the patients.

The Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha or Rajuk, Fire Service and Civil Defence, the police, and the hospital submitted separate reports on the incident to the court.

Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder told bdnews24.com all the reports, except the hospital's one, found its negligence in the incident.

But Mostafizur Rahman Khan, a lawyer for United, said the hospital could not take permission for a separate isolation unit and replace expired fire extinguishers due to the pandemic.

“And CCTV camera footage showed the fire incident occurred over maximum two minutes. So it was nothing but an accident,” he added and hoped they would be able to reach a settlement with the victims’ families.

Fouzia Akter, the wife of Riaz Ul Alam, one of the victims, filed a writ petition seeking Tk 150 million in compensation from the hospital.

Hasan MS Azim, the lawyer for Fouzia, said United had offered her a job in the hospital and her child’s study at a school.

“It was very inhumane. How can it be that they killed her husband and now offering her a job there?” he asked.

The other victims of the fatal fire were Vernon Anthony Paul, Md Mahbub, Md Monir Hossain, and Khodaja Begum. Three of them were COVID-19 patients, while the two others had symptoms.

The fire on the night of May 27 burnt down the tent-like coronavirus unit of the hospital.