Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: 30 children die in 48 hours after oxygen supply disrupted; magisterial probe ordered

In a shocking incident on Friday, 30 children in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur district died in a span of 48 hours at Baba Raghav Das Medical College, ANI reported. The district administration, however, refuted the claims.

Initial media reports claimed that a disruption in oxygen supply led to the death of the children, however, the state government, as well as the district administration, have denied those reports.

A magisterial probe has been ordered to investigate the real cause that led to deaths of the children.

According to Hindustan Times, the oxygen supply at the medical college was allegedly stopped after the suppliers’ bill of Rs 67 lakh was not cleared. The medical hospital is largest in the Gorakhpur region and also Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath's former parliamentary constituency.

The Indian Express reported that Gorakhpur has seen at least 114 deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in 2017. The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Gorakhpur, Ravindra Kumar was quoted as saying, "The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) last year was more than 20 percent and this year we have reduced it to 16 percent. In 2015, the CFR was somewhere near 30 percent.”

The Finacial Express reported that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier in May 2017, launched a campaign to eradicate deadly encephalitis disease that had led to deaths of hundreds of children every year in Uttar Pradesh. The report further added that he has also stressed on awareness and public participation for the success of the campaign.

According to NDTV report, of the 30 deaths reported, 17 have died in the neo-natal intensive care unit, while eight died in the pediatric ward and five in the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome ward. The report further added that BJP Lok Sabha member Kamlesh Paswan carried out an inspection at the medical college. He was quoted as saying, "From what I saw, daily 7-8, or 10 patients have been dying in the medical college...there are problems. However, he said that the real reason for the Friday's deaths should be investigated.

Talking to CNN-News18, Deepankar Sharma, an employee of Pushpa Gas Pvt Ltd — which supplied liquid oxygen to the medical college — claimed that the company had written several letters to the principal of BRD medical college regarding the payment of liquid oxygen since February 2017.

The company supplies approximately three to four trucks of liquid oxygen to BRD medical college monthly.

Sharma claimed that in spite of several applications, the medical college did not respond to their notices. He further added that the children might have died due to encephalitis and not due to shortage of oxygen supply. The Uttar Pradesh government also claimed that seven children died at the hospital due to 'medical reasons' and not a shortage of oxygen supply.

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Updated Date: Aug 13, 2017 12:40:10 IST