217 children died this month in India hospital
Death is haunting a government hospital in northern India that was criticised earlier this month when dozens of babies died within two days.
Dr PK Singh, the head of the BRD Medical College, in Gorakhpur city, said that at least 217 children died there in August, for a variety of reasons, including an annual encephalitis outbreak.
Dr Singh added that 42 children have died in the last 48 hours. Seven of the deaths were from encephalitis, and the rest from other medical complications.
The hospital was in the middle of a media storm earlier this month, when 33 children died there between August 10-11, around the same time as a disruption in the oxygen supply.
A team of experts from New Delhi later said that the interruption was not responsible for the deaths, but there was fury over how the hospital let oxygen run out.
“Increase in fatality is because of seasonal infection,” Dr Singh said. “There is no shortage of oxygen or medicine in the hospital. Children died only because of medical complication, not because of medical negligence.”
Encephalitis wreaks havoc in the area every year, during the monsoon season.
Experts say that this year fatalities from encephalitis are expected to be high, because of excessive rains and flooding across eastern Uttar Pradesh and particularly the area in and around Gorakhpur.
The city is 155 miles south east of Lucknow, state capital of Uttar Pradesh.
Medical experts say the government continues to be surprised by, and unprepared for, what is now an annual cycle of disease and death.