MUMBAI: The parents of a week-old twin girl killed in the Marol ESIC Hospital fire last week have been denied full compensation of Rs 10 lakh by the ESIC, with officials allegedly claiming that the baby, born prematurely, “was critical since birth and there was a possibility that the death was natural”.

The baby died on Friday, four days after the fire broke out in the hospital claiming 11 lives, including two infants.

The Virar couple was handed over a cheque of Rs 2 lakh -the amount stipulated for seriously injured-at an event organised by ESIC at Panchdeep Bhavan, Andheri on Monday. Minutes later, Anil and Lalita Logavi were given a second cheque of the same amount for the girl’s twin brother, who is admitted to the NICU of Holy Spirit Hospital.

The 27-year-old mother told TOI on Tuesday, “No amount can ever compensate for the loss of my child, but how can they deny that she was a victim of the fire?”

The couple said that as ESIC officials distributed the compensation cheques to families of the deceased and injured, their daughter’s name featured among the critically injured.

“We immediately pointed out the mistake, but we realised they knew our child was dead,” said Anil, who works as an AC technician. “The officials insisted that we accept the cheque. An officer told us to take whatever amount we were given now and take up the matter with ESIC higher-ups later,” said the father, adding that he accepted the cheque fearing he may not get any compensation at all.

The babies were delivered through C section at the ESIC hospital three days before the fire. The baby girl weighed 800grams, while the boy was 1.5 kg at birth. During the three days of her stay at ESIC’s NICU, the girl’s weight further dropped to 650 grams. “But doctors in ESIC had told us there was hope as babies as little as 500-600 grams survive nowadays with good NICU care,” said the mother.

Lalita says the crucial 45-60 minutes that the baby spent after being snapped away from the ventilator after the fire and during her transfer to Holy Spirit Hospital stacked the odds against her. “She got oxygen support in the ambulance. But who is to say that the smoke inhalation combined with the interruption in ventilatory support didn’t kill her?” said the mother, in between tears. The couple had conceived after six years of marriage through IVF. “We couldn’t even name or photograph her,” said the mother. The other twin is recovering well, doctors said.

Dr BB Gupta, medical superintendent of ESIC Hospital, said that he will have to check the records before commenting.

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