217 chil­dren died this month in In­dia hos­pi­tal

Irish Examiner - - World News - Biswa­jeet Ban­er­jee

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.

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