Gorakhpur Hospital Deaths: It's Not Tragedy But Massacre, Says Satyarthi

UP Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tondon

UP Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tondon

Just a few administrative and medical negligence and it cost 30 children their lives in just 48 hours.

Dr. Kafeel Khan, a paediatrician and the head of the encephalitis ward at Baba Raghav Das Medical College, was removed as the Nodal Officer two days after he saved hundreds of children by collecting oxygen cylinders from various nursing homes. The lack of oxygen allegedly led to encephalitis, which is a sudden onset inflammation of the brain, following which the children died. Reason behind most of the death cases was due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

The procured data also shows the number of oxygen cylinders sent for refilling each day, showing a clear shortage of liquid oxygen in the hospital.

Reports say the deaths were caused due to an oxygen shortage after a private supplier withdrew its equipment over unpaid hospital dues.

Spending on public health in India, relative to the country's GDP, is among the lowest in the world. The doctors at the hospital said that Sarika had died of cardio-respiratory failure.

"We are suspending BRD medical college principal with immediate effect for this negligent behaviour", State Minister for Medical Education Ashutosh Tandon said on Saturday, while addressing the media over the tragedy.

The ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is also governing the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Health minister Singh gave a detailed account of the deaths, stressing that none of them had been caused due to disruption of oxygen supply.

Rajeev Rautela, the district magistrate, said that the deaths seem to be due to lack of oxygen supply but at present, the administration has denied the statement.

The opposition Congress has demanded that Adityanath should apologise to the families who lost their children in the tragedy and the dismissal of the state Health Minister. "Why was there a delay in the payment, why was the supply of oxygen stopped-these aspects will be probed by a panel", he said. These children have not died but killed. In addition, Dr PK Singh, Principal of Rajkiya Medical College, Ambedkar Nagar, has been given additional charge of BRD Medical College.

He added that none of the deaths took place during the window of crisis. "Yes, 60 patients have died at the hospital in the last five days but we don't think it's linked to reports of oxygen shortage".