Documents Show Gorakhpur Hospital Raised Alarm Over Oxygen Stock
A letter on August 9 addressed to the education minister informs him of the pending dues of Rs 68 lakh, that the hospital owes to the company that supplies oxygen.
Children receive treatment at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesg. (PTI file photo)
Gorakhpur: The "stock of oxygen supply had completely run out" which may have led to the death of 63 children at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur last week. This is what the Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) of Nehru Memorial Hospital wrote to College Director Rajeev Mishra on August 11, after a meeting of senior doctors including the Head of Paediatrics.
BRD Medical College’s paediatric ward with the 100-bedded encephalitis and neonatal care wards is part of the Nehru Hospital.
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Another letter on August 9 addressed to the education minister, which is now in the possession of News18, informs him of the pending dues of Rs 68 lakh. The owner of the firm that supplies oxygen to this hospital has repeatedly expressed that the supply would have to be cut as they are unable to meet the expenses.
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CMS Dr RS Shukla in his urgent missive informed that "the stock of liquid oxygen has totally dried up and a meeting of doctors including the paediatrics department head and others was held on the morning of August 11, in room number 12 of the paediatrics department, to review the situation.”
The letter further reads, “You are therefore requested to ensure availability of oxygen at the earliest in order to save precious lives.”
Within a span of five days, 63 children died at the BRD Medical College, allegedly due to oxygen shortage at the hospital. While the Uttar Pradesh government has blamed the deaths on several reasons such as encephalitis and other ailments, they rejected the oxygen shortage theory as a reason.
However, almost every family, who lost their children, reported that their babies were gasping for breath when the oxygen supply was cut from August 7. Over 32 children died between August 10 and 11.
The letter also goes on to predict that there would be a large-scale crisis in the paediatrics department on night of August 10, thus giving weight to the possibility of deaths occurring due to lack of liquid oxygen.
Now, these letters again indicate that criminal negligence or conspiracy was probably not just limited to the college principal, who has been sacked, but to levels higher up in the hierarchy.
It has to be seen if the government will still stick to its claim that oxygen shortage was not the reason behind these deaths or accept that there was a lapse on the administration’s part.
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