ESIC Hospital fire in Mumbai: Nothing to cover his dead baby, he used a doormat

ESIC Hospital fire in Mumbai: Nothing to cover his dead baby, he used a doormat
A photo of Rajesh together with his 2-months-old daughter’s baby. (Express photo: Amit Chakravarty)

Rajesh is still holding a new doormat, which is red and blue in colour, in its cellophane wrapping still on since early Tuesday morning. He stands outside morgue at the Dr R N Cooper Hospital in the outskirts of Mumbai where the autopsies have been going on for a while now.

“I could lay my hands on nothing else which I could use to wrap her body with,” the 25-year-old man said. His 2-months-old baby who is yet to be identified by name is among the eight fire victims of the incident which happened on Monday at the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital in Marol.

Rajesh, a renowned cook with Skygoumet Catering Pvt Ltd, used the whole of Monday evening making countless trips between the Seven Hills Hospital where his wife was admitted and Cooper Hospital where his sister Dimple was rushed. The two were rescued by the Hills hospital staff and firemen. He also spent the entire evening asking if anybody had seen a baby girl who is lost.

At long last, he got his daughter’s body at around 1 am on Tuesday. He was directed by the local police to Holy Spirit Hospital where a baby’s body had been taken, and the body was covered in soot.

“I was informed that a nurse discovered my baby’s body lying on the bed on the fourth floor. She was just lying there all alone.” Said Rajesh. Both of his wife and sister were also n a comma in nearby hospitals. A forensic professional later issued a confirmatory statement that the baby was suffocated to death.

Merging together all the information about the tragedy as told by the nurse and other two women, Rajesh’s uncle Ram Prasad had to say the following: “The three were together and the two women had their hands locked into each other. The baby was right in the arm of Rukmani. However, it seems that the smoke got the better of her and she collapsed.”

The women never attempted to jump out like other causalities probably because they have the baby with them. It seems that the rescue team who came to the aid of the two women did not identify the baby due to the thick smoke, therefore, was left behind.

Rukmani and Rajesh have been in a marriage for four years. The couple got their first-born just two months ago before the tragic event. On 14th December, she got admitted to the ESIC hospital with a kidney stone problem. She was taken to Ward 4 on the fourth floor of the hospital building.

“Every morning before going to work, I would take our beloved baby to the hospital so that the mother could feed her then bring her back home.” Said Rajesh. Rajesh had been a resident of Marol for a decade now.

On Monday, he woke up as usual and went to work through ESIC Hospital. AT around 6.30pm, he received a call from one of the doctors at Cooper Hospital that his sister had been admitted while is unconscious after being saved from the raging fire. He left for Cooper, then to ESIC and finally found his wife Rakumani at Seven Hills. She was also unconscious.

The first thing that Rakmani asked when she gained conscious was their baby. A moment of silence followed what made doctors to falsely believe that she was looking for a baby boy as the family had no clue about the body of a baby girl that had not been identified at Holy Spirit Hospital.

According to the information given by Dr Rajesh Sukhadey who is a medical superintendent at Cooper Hospital, Dimple inhaled smoke but is out of danger. Rakmani is also stable but wasn’t informed about the death of her only daughter until Tuesday morning. The baby’s body was ferried home a few hours later.


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