Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Keshav Prasad Maurya has promised strict action against those who are responsible for the death of 33 children at Gorakhpur’s BRD hospital within 48 hours.
These children died in what is believed to be a case of negligence on part of the hospital to ensure smooth supply of oxygen for the patients. Sources said the deaths were caused after the agency responsible for the supply of oxygen stopped it last night, leading to the death of 33 children in the past three days. Seven deaths were reported Friday evening.
The hospital has a special ward for patients of encephalitis. The children who died were admitted in three wards at the hospital. The incident comes barely two days after the visit of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to the hospital to review its functioning. Gorakhpur, where the hospital is located, is the Lok Sabha constituency of the Chief Minister.
The Uttar Pradesh government has, however, denied that the deaths were caused by shortage of oxygen. In a statement released to the media Friday evening, the government denied media reports stating oxygen shortage as the reason behind the deaths. The statement further said that the district administration was present at the hospital and monitoring the situation.
There have also been reports of hospital dues to the tune of Rs 66 lakh to the company that supplied oxygen. Sources said repeated reminders were sent to the authorities at the government hospital and medical college in writing. They said the technician at the hospital had informed authorities of the shortage in oxygen levels, but wasn't paid heed to.
The Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital is a specialty hospital frequented by many in the region that is prone to cases of encephalitis. Gorakhpur has witnessed at least 114 deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) this year.
The Indian Express had reported on August 7 that 16 new cases of AES and three deaths were reported from Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, the largest in the district. The report added that the hospital and district health officials claimed that the situation is much better than the previous years.