Hos­pi­tal still gasp­ing for breath as toll touches 60

Thirty kids among those who lost their lives at BRD Med­i­cal Col­lege due to lack of oxy­gen; kin of the de­ceased claim trou­ble started on Thurs­day night

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - NAMITA BA­J­PAI @ Luc­know

IT was des­per­ate night of Au­gust 10 when the doc­tors at Nehru Hos­pi­tal in BRD Med­i­cal Col­lege started run­ning hel­ter-skel­ter ar­rang­ing for life-sav­ing oxy­gen as the reg­u­lar sup­ply had dipped and the pa­tients, mostly kids, started sink­ing. Khushi, 5, too de­void of oxy­gen, strug­gled for life for next 24 hours and lost it at 5 pm on Fri­day.

She was one among those 60 pa­tients, in­clud­ing 30 kids, who died in the hos­pi­tal dur­ing the last five days.

How­ever, the real oxy­gen cri­sis started on Thus­day night.

Zahid who had ad­mit­ted daugh­ter Khushi, run­ning with high fever to En­cephali­tis ward on Thurs­day af­ter­noon saw her sink­ing past mid­night as the reg­u­lar oxy­gen sup­ply started dip­ping since 11.30 pm. Zahid says he was given a bag by the doc­tors to pump Khushi. “They also ar­ranged some oxy­gen cylin­ders from out­side,” states Zahid. At 5 pm on Fri­day, Khushi’s body be­came numb and life­less but the hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties de­clared her dead only at 10 pm, claims the fa­ther.

“Panic-stricken doc­tors kept ad­min­is­ter­ing the in­jec­tions to the dead body of my daugh­ter just to show the gath­ered me­dia that she was alive,” said Zahid howl­ing with the pain of his loss. He pleaded for the body but was al­lowed to take it only af­ter the po­lice of­fi­cials in­ter­vened.

Zahid and many more par­ents at BRD Med­i­cal Col­lege had sim­i­lar tale of woes to nar­rate. How­ever, af­ter the re­ports of dis­rupted oxy­gen sup­ply and re­sul­tant deaths pil­fered out, the state gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties rushed for a cover-up and the first head to roll was of Prin­ci­pal RK Mishra who was sus­pended on Satur­day for dere­lic­tion of duty and neg­li­gence by state min­is­ter, Med­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion. Mishra on his part claimed that he had re­signed tak­ing the moral re­spon­si­bil­ity of the in­ci­dent be­fore be­ing sus­pended by the min­is­ter who had reached the med­i­cal col­lege to take stock of the sit­u­a­tion on Satur­day.

Of 30 chil­dren who died in the Med­i­cal Col­lege dur­ing the last 48 hours, 17 were in the neo-natal ward, five in the AES (acute en­cephali­tis syn­drome) ward and eight in the gen­eral ward. The con­fu­sion over the cause of so many deaths in just five days was still a rid­dle to be solved. While the pa­tients claimed it to be lack of oxy­gen sup­ply, the au­thor­i­ties rub­bished the claim and at­trib­uted the deaths to a num­ber of rea­sons in­clud­ing neo-natal deaths, out­break of acute en­cephali­tis and other ail­ments. How­ever, a high level probe into the rea­sons was on un­der Chief Sec­re­tary Ra­jeev Kumar and the re­port is ex­pected shortly.

WHILE t he oxy­gen sup­ply emerged as the main rea­son for the sud­den spate in deaths, the au­thor­i­ties also set up a probe to as­cer­tain the role of the sup­plier M/s Pushpa sales Com­pany which is ac­cused of stop­ping the oxy­gen sup­ply on Thurs­day night due to non-pay­ment of dues to the tune of `70 lakh de­spite sev­eral re­minders to the Med­i­cal col­lege au­thor­i­ties and the dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Deep­ankar Sharma of Pushpa sales Com­pany, he had writ­ten to the BRD Med­i­cal Col­lege sev­eral times to clear their dues since Novem­ber, the lat­est be­ing on July 31 this year, but to no avail. He had even sent a le­gal no­tice dated July 30, 2017, ad­dressed to the Med­i­cal col­lege au­thor­i­ties say­ing, “You are called upon to en­sure the pay­ment of the pend­ing bill with 15 days of the re­ceipt of this le­gal no­tice fail­ing which the com­pany shall be com­pelled to ini­ti­ate ap­pro­pri­ate pro­ceed­ings against you and you will be sad­dled with cost and con­se­quences thereof.”

On Au­gust 1, the liq­uid oxy­gen sup­plier com­pany gave an ul­ti­ma­tum to the med­i­cal col­lege au­thor­i­ties of dis­con­tin­u­ing oxy­gen sup­ply as the huge amount was pend­ing. How­ever, min­is­ter of med­i­cal health Ashutosh Ten­don claimed that money for pay­ment was re­leased by the au­thor­i­ties in Luc­know on Au­gust 5 it­self and the med­i­cal col­lege au­thor­i­ties did not do the due.

An­other star­tling fact which re­veals the cal­lous­ness of the hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties is a let­ter writ­ten by three op­er­a­tors of the hos­pi­tal’s cen­tral oxy­gen pipe­line to the Head of Depart­ment (HoD) of the pae­di­atric depart­ment on Au­gust 10.

They men­tioned in the cor­re­spon­dence that the lead­ing of liq- uid oxy­gen was los­ing pres­sure in the unit which is un­likely to last be­yond mid­night. How­ever, the hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties did not pay heed to it.

Mean­while, in the melee, the hos­pi­tal rushed to make par­tial pay­ment of Pushpa Sales on Au­gust 11 with the prom­ise to pay the rest soon.

How­ever, Gorakhpur dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion, the vis­it­ing min­is­ters and the hos­pi­tal re­mained firm on their stand that the deaths did not oc­cur due to lack of oxy­gen sup­ply and that there was no dearth of the life sav­ing gas in the hos­pi­tal.

Back in Luc­know, af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing on the is­sue, chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath said that if the deaths oc­curred due to lack of oxy­gen it was an of­fence and he would en­sure strictest ac­tion against those re­spon­si­ble for crim­i­nal neg­li­gence.

The union gov­ern­ment has also asked the state for a de­tailed re­port on so many deaths in such a short span. The Cen­tre has even rushed union min­is­ter Anupriya Pa­tel along with union health sec­re­tary to Gorakhpur.

In the mean time, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi talked to chief min­is­ter Yogi Adi­tay­nath to take in­for­ma­tion and took to twit­ter to ex­press his con­cern over the is­sue. “I am mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Gorakhpur and I am in con­stant touch with the au­thor­i­ties in UP,” Naren­dra Modi tweeted.

Mean­while, the in­ci­dent came as oxy­gen to the mori­bund and dec­i­mated op­po­si­tion in the state. All, in­clud­ing the Congress led by Ghu­lam Nabi Azad and RPN Singh, the Sa­ma­jwadi Party led by its chief Akhilesh Ya­dav and the Bahu­jan Samjwadi Party led by chief Mayawati politi­cised the is­sue and used it as a tool to at­tack the state gov­ern­ment in an­tic­i­pa­tion of get­ting some po­lit­i­cal space back.

In my per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion with of­fi­cials, the prin­ci­pal of the BRD med­i­cal col­lege and in charge of the pae­di­atric ward, I had asked if any­thing was re­quired from the gov­ern­ment but there was no dis­cus­sion on oxy­gen Yogi Adityanath, CM

AFP

Rel­a­tives mourn the death of a child at the Baba Raghav Das Hos­pi­tal in Gorakhpur on Satur­day |

Top- Chil­dren ad­mit­ted to state-run Baba Raghav Das (BRD)Med­i­cal Col­lege where at least 30 chil­dren died in the past 48 hours in Gorakhpur, on Satur­day | AboveRel­a­tives mourn af­ter the death of chil­dren | Left- Work­ers ex­am­ine oxy­gen cylin­ders at the hos­pi­tal | PTI/AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.