Gorakhpur tragedy: Yogi Adityanath should suspend hospital administration, quit govt to take moral responsibility

What is so unfortunate is, the Uttar Pradesh health minister Siddharth Nath Singh saying that the death of 60 infants over the last five days at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur is unfortunate.

Cartoon by Manjul

Cartoon by Manjul

It is not unfortunate, sir. It is a tragedy of monumental proportions. It is an unprecedented medical savagery and defies all logic. It is horrific.

Ward of BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur. PTI

Ward of BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur. PTI

At the very outset, when nine children died on 7 August, why was there not a complete shutdown of equipment? Why wasn't an immediate red alert sounded and a movement of patients to other hospitals initiated? An emergency should have been announced, the premises should have been quarantined and medicines should have been sent for investigation.

Instead, the very next day, another 12 children died and no one thought it prudent to react.

On day three, more nine children collapsed and on day four, 23 kids fell to this mysterious fatal flaw. The toll kept on mounting. Day five saw another seven children lose their lives and the 60 collective deaths in this macabre week are probably the worst man-made medical disaster in history.

The issue wasn't even brought to public notice until the fifth day. It is inconceivable that the toll kept rising day after day and there was no pre-emptive reaction. It is almost as if a few kids dying was an everyday event and unworthy of much attention.

What is the use of a magisterial enquiry? What can the magistrate even do, bring the children back to life? For sheer brutal incompetence and indifference to human life, this is a world record. Granted that the children come from modest backgrounds and their parents have no clout. They can be told, "here take the bodies home. We are so sorry, but don't make a fuss, yeh hotha hai."

If Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath truly wishes to take the responsibility, he should resign along with his government and show the nation that he is gutted by this five-day saga in gross negligence. The rest is all window dressing and impresses no one. Ironically, Adityanath had on 9 August visited the ward where children were dying and he didn't know because he was busy chatting. He should be livid. The question that needs to be asked is, Were the deaths kept confidential and no action taken because the VIP visit was on the agenda?

Since the hospital administration is probably replete with Adityanath's supporters and are at that position through his patronage, would it not be a better display of political responsibility to suspend them all and let the chips fall where they may? This is not just ineptitude, it is criminal manslaughter and arrests have to be made.

The investigation has to be public and transparent. Was an alert sounded when the first lot of seven children died? Doctors, by nature, hate to lose patients. Losing infants is anathema to them and it is not acceptable that the pediatric team could have been so indifferent. So, was an indent made for checking the oxygen equipment? Was there a delay in getting the required clearances? Who was not in office or where were the delays and bureaucratic delays?

As the story hit the world and made India seem backward just days before the Independence Day celebrations, it would be fitting to hold on the bunting and the balloons and ask ourselves where are we going with our destiny when little children are martyred to this massive blunder.

Will anyone ever know their names or will a VIP visit their grieving parents or will the guilty be punished?
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Published Date: Aug 12, 2017 02:44 pm | Updated Date: Aug 13, 2017 12:31 pm


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