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Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy: 60 children dead for various reasons, not just oxygen shortage


CM Adityanath says guilty will not be spared

The deaths are being blamed on infections and possible disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward. However, the hospital and district administration have rejected oxygen shortage as a reason.

At least 60 children have died in the past five days in Gorakhpur at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital because of infections and an alleged disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward. The Uttar Pradesh government is facing the heat from Opposition parties and other outlets since Gorakhpur falls under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency.

While the state government has already ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, state ministers have criticised Opposition parties for politicising the deaths. Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya told ANI on Saturday that their political rivals were making comments in “haste”. State Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh also told ANI that Opposition should refrain from politicising the issue. Leaders from Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have expressed their condolences for the bereaved families and have called out the state government for its alleged laxity in the tragedy.

PM constantly monitoring situation, in touch with authorities

Gorakhpur hospital deaths: “PM is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur. He is in constant touch with authorities from the Central & UP Governments,” tweeted PMO.

GorakhpurReflecting on the tragedy in which 60 children died in the past six days in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital, the PMO tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly keeping an eye at the situation in Gorakhpur. The tweet read: “PM is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur. He is in constant touch with authorities from the Central & UP Governments.”

Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel and the Union Health Secretary will take stock of the situation in Gorakhpur.

Around 60 children have died at the hospital in the past few days due to a range of reasons, including encephalitis. While the deaths are believed to have happened due to infections and alleged oxygen supply shortage in the medical institute’s paediatrics ward, the hospital and the district administration have denied oxygen shortage claims as the reason behind the mishap.

Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela told the Indian Express, “No death in BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, has taken place due to shortage of oxygen supply. Only seven deaths have taken place at the BRD Medical College today and these were due to different medical reasons.”

I Resigned Much Before Govt Suspended me, Says BRD College Principal

In a press briefing, Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon announced that the Principal, Rajiv Mishra, had been suspended. However, Mishra claimed that he had resigned on Saturday morning on “moral grounds”, much before he was suspended by the Medical Education Minister.

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Mishra claimed that he had resigned on Saturday morning on “moral grounds”, much before he was suspended by the Medical Education Minister.

“Taking the moral responsibility for the deaths of children, I had already resigned. These children have died in my tenure. Hence, I consider it as my moral responsibility,” said Mishra.

In a press briefing, Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon announced that the Principal, Rajiv Mishra, had been suspended.

Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said: “In the year 2014, the college had an average of 19 deaths per day. In 2015, it was 22 deaths per day, and in 2016, it was 19 deaths per day. This is because the patients come from not just Uttar Pradesh but from Nepal and Bihar as well.”

Let me make it very clear, Children didn’t die due to any disruption in the oxygen supply, the Minister said, adding that “for two hours, there was a shortage of emergency cylinders, during which manual procedure was carried out, and no death was reported during the manual procedure.”

Medical Education Minister said that first information about a low-pressure situation in the liquid oxygen supply was received on August 10 at 7:30 pm and gas cylinders were immediately pressed into service. “This continued normally till 11:30 pm. There was then a shortage of cylinder for two hours which was restored at 1.30 in the night soon after, through another batch of gas cylinders.”

“Seven deaths took place between 7:30 pm and 10:05 pm on August 10 in the period when the oxygen wasn’t cut off. The next death happened at 11:05 am on August 11. The supply, by then, had been put into place through gas cylinders in the night itself,” he added.

Dirty surroundings, open defecation behind children’s deaths in Gorakhpur hospital: Yogi Adityanath

resizedEven as a magisterial probe is underway into the death of over 60 children, including infants, at the Baba Raghav Das Medical college in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday blamed lack of cleanliness.

Addressing a gathering at Allahabad, Adityanath said the death of these children in his constituency was caused by filth and scourge of open defecation.

“There are vector-borne diseases, such as encephalitis, you must be hearing media reports of BRD medical college these days…it is a tragedy that lives of young children have been snuffed out at such young age because we do not lead a clean and hygienic life” he said while reminding the crowd that the disease has been the bane of eastern Uttar Pradesh since 1978.

“Gandagi ki wajah se is desh ka baccha asamay kaal kalvit ho raha hai (Unclean surroundings are causing untimely death of children),” he said, while praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and how his Swacch Bharat mission aimed at ridding people of the dirty and filth around them.

“The governments cannot be the problem, they are solutions and if they are problems in themselves they have no right to continue,” he added.

Clear dues or we stop oxygen supply: Gas company’s Aug 8 letter to Gorakhpur BRD Medical college

The letter written by a representative of Pushpa Sales in Gorakhpur mentions that payments to the tune of Rs 63, 65 702 were due despite several reminders submitted in the past to Baba Raghav Das Medical College.

A Lucknow-based company, which switched off the supply of oxygen cylinders to Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College that allegedly led to the death of 30 children, had issued an ultimatum to hospital authorities in a letter on August 8.

The letter – a copy of which is with Hindustan Times – was written by a representative of Pushpa Sales to the principal of the BRD Medical College and mentioned pending dues of Rs 63,65,702 till August 1 and demanded payment for the same.

The letter said the company had decided to supply stock for the next 4-5 days on the day the letter was handed over to hospital authorities but warned the supply might get hampered if the dues were not cleared.

“INOX, the firm we are taking oxygen supply from, has expressed inability to continue the supply of oxygen in future, in case we fail to make payments to them,” said the letter from Dipankar Sharma of Pushpa Sales to principal BRD Medical College.

This letter also mentioned that payments were due despite several reminders submitted in the past as well. “Therefore it is requested to clear our dues else we might not be able to continue supply in future. It will not be our responsibility,” read the letter.

The company sent several letters to BRD Medical College. On July 18, the letter noted dues to the tune of Rs 57,44,336 despite a partial payment made on May 11 for Rs 19,81,619. The letter on August 01 recorded the dues as Rs 63,65,702 and finally on August 08 the dues stood at Rs 68,58,596.

The spate of children deaths at the government-run hospital over the past few days, allegedly due to the lack of oxygen, has sent shockwaves through the country. At least 60 children died over seven days at the hospital in chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency. The government has denied that paucity of oxygen was behind the deaths, blaming complications arising out of encephalitis.