Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: BRD Medical College scrambles to contain death count

Gorakhpur: In the eye of the storm over the death of more than 70 children in less than a week, the administration of Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Uttar Pradesh is demonstrating much hustle.

Pintu Mahadev, 30, whose daughter was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday noon, told Firstpost that earlier, doctors were only prescribing the medicines and the parents had to procure it themselves, but now, the hospital was providing them with everything.

The inflow of patients has increased in the last three days and more than 30 children in serious condition have been admitted in the last one week. Some of them have been sent to the emergency ward.

The BRD Medical College is now taking extra precautions. PTI

The BRD Medical College is now taking extra precautions. PTI

The new nodal officer of the paediatrics department, Dr Bhupendra Sharma, told Firstpost about 80 doctors, most of them residents from the Medical College, who were pressed into service and were working round the clock with the support of the nurses and the non-medical staff.

Dr Sharma could hardly be found on his chair, busy as he was visiting the wards regularly. Although he wasn't making time to speak with the press, Firstpost caught up with him during one of his rounds.

“My team is working day and night. For us, every life is precious and we cannot afford any negligence," he said, adding that the hospital had everything it needed, including oxygen, in surplus to treat the patients.

Dr Sharma has replaced Dr Kafeel Khan as the nodal officer after the latter was removed from the position, while no reason has been cited by the government for his ouster. However, it is alleged that Sharma has been running a private clinic, flouting the regulation.

Enough oxygen

Accompanying Dr Sharma for the rounds were the head of paediatrics department, Dr Mahima Mittal, and the new principal of the medical college, Dr PK Singh. Dr Mittal was overheard telling the new principal they had 3,927 litres of oxygen and there was no reason to panic.

Since the word spread on 10 August about the death of 30 children owing to a lack of oxygen, kin of the in-patients were struck by panic and vying to get their child discharged. (The patients were not discharged as the doctors did not deem it safe to do so.)

Dr Singh said the paediatrics department has 100 beds and is equipped with the best facilities to treat the children. He said the doctors have been working with dedication. Requesting anonymity, a junior resident doctor told Firstpost they have been asked to put in extra hours until normalcy returns. The doctor said they barely get to sleep for six hours in the hospital's rest room and get back to work right after they get up.

Fortifying team

The doctor also informed Firstpost that 30 resident doctors from the diploma of child health courses have been roped in from other hospitals so that every child admitted at BRD Medical College is attended to.

Lakshman (name changed), a sweeper at BRD Medical College, said sweepers have been asked to stay at the hospital until normalcy returns.

Saheb ne kaha hai ki jab tak sab sahi nahi ho jata, tab tak ghar nahi jaana hai. Ham yahin kaam karte hain aur jaha jagah milti hai waha par so jaate hai (Sir has instructed us not to go home until everything gets alright. We work here and lie down to sleep wherever we find space),” he said, adding that senior doctors were arranging food for them from a nearby canteen.

Until Friday, kin of the patients were staying put at the ICU corridor but now, they have been moved to the waiting area. Here, two junior doctors apprise them about the dos and don'ts of entering the ICU.

Rumour has it…

A parent whose child is admitted at the medical college said the two junior doctors had been giving a nose mask, a disposable head cover, and shoe cover to everybody entering the ICU until hours before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's visit. The parent said the doctors ran out of the protective gear in due course and were asking patients' kin to buy these from a chemist nearby if they wanted to go inside the ICU.

This correspondent gathered from the hospital staff, though it could not be confirmed, that the employees working at the Encephalitis ward have not been paid for months. A media report says that the staff have not been paid for four months.

Updated Date: Aug 16, 2017 07:49 AM

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