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Gorakhpur Horror: Probe Panel Confirms Oxygen Shortage, Blames Financial Irregularities

The two-page report said that the funds to pay the oxygen vendor were credited to the BRD Medical College's account on August 5 and held at least six employees responsible for the delay in processing the amount.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:August 17, 2017, 11:03 AM IST
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Gorakhpur Horror: Probe Panel Confirms Oxygen Shortage, Blames Financial Irregularities
Children receive treatment at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur district. (PTI Photo)
Gorakhpur: The panel appointed to probe the deaths of over 60 kids at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur confirmed there was lack of oxygen and blamed “financial irregularities” at the hospital for the delay in payments to the supplier. The probe committee has asked for a full-scale investigation.

The two-page report, accessed exclusively by CNN-News18, has made eight critical observations. It says that the funds to pay the vendor were credited to the hospital’s account on August 5 and held at least six employees responsible for the delay in processing the amount. It further says that officers did not act despite reminders that defaulting on payment could have serious consequences.

The damning report goes on to say that the job done by Principal Dr Rajeev Mishra, HOD anaesthesia Dr Satish, chief pharmacist Gajanan Agarwal was found to be unsatisfactory. It concludes that had Dr Mishra and Dr Satish paid attention to complaints made by likes of Dr Kafeel Ahmad and acted in time, the crises could have been avoided.

The probe report has been signed by the chief medical officer, assistant District magistrate (city), additional director health and family welfare, additional commissioner (admin) and the city magistrate.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered the probe after coming under fire for the deaths in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) of the state-run hospital.

Sixty three children have died at BRD Medical College Hospital since August 7, many for want of oxygen after supply was allegedly disrupted as bills were not paid to the supplier on time. At least 30 children were reported dead within a span of two days alone. Many of the victims were infants.

The oxygen vendor had stopped supply to the hospital because it was owed Rs 64 lakh, but said it received no payments for months on end. But as soon as news broke of 30 children dying due to alleged oxygen shortage, the hospital released a payment of Rs 20.84 lakh, the company had told News18.com.

The state government though has denied that an oxygen shortage was to blame for the deaths, and said that there was a provision for backup. The local administration in Gorakhpur, the Lok Sabha constituency of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, however, had admitted that oxygen supply was disrupted.

Adityanath had promised stringent action against those found guilty and suspended the principal for dereliction of duty. Dr Kafeel Ahmad, the head of the encephalitis ward, was also removed from his post of nodal officer.
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