35 chil­dren die in North In­dian hos­pi­tal in 3 days

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

Par­ents of at least 35 chil­dren who have died in a state-run hos­pi­tal in north­ern In­dia over the past three days have al­leged that the fa­tal­i­ties were due to the lack of a suf­fi­cient oxy­gen sup­ply in the chil­dren’s ward. Dis­trict Mag­is­trate Ra­jiv Rautela said yes­ter­day that the deaths of the chil­dren be­ing treated for dif­fer­ent ail­ments at the Baba Raghav Das Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal in Go­rakh­pur city in Ut­tar Pradesh state were due to nat­u­ral causes. He de­nied that an in­suf­fi­cient oxy­gen sup­ply led to their deaths.

Par­ents said that the oxy­gen sup­ply to the ward ran out Thurs­day night and that patients’ fam­i­lies were given self-in­flat­ing bags to help the chil­dren breathe. “That’s the time when the death of the chil­dren peaked,” said Mritun­jaya Singh, whose 7month-old son was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal and was not among the dead.

The Ut­tar Pradesh govern­ment has or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Prashant Trivedi, the state’s top health of­fi­cial, ac­knowl­edged that there was a prob­lem in the pipe­line sup­ply­ing oxy­gen. “But the sit­u­a­tion was man­aged through oxy­gen cylin­ders,” Trivedi said. “The hos­pi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tion has enough sup­ply of cylin­ders in its stock. So the re­port about death of chil­dren be­cause of oxy­gen is­sue is false.”

The par­ents said the com­pany that sup­plies oxy­gen to the hos­pi­tal had ear­lier threat­ened to stop the dis­tri­bu­tion of oxy­gen un­less the govern­ment paid its lon­gover­due bills. Rautela said that the hos­pi­tal owed 6.8 mil­lion ru­pees ($106,000) to the com­pany, but added that it had ad­e­quate numbers of oxy­gen cylin­ders.

Par­matma Gau­tam, whose 1-month-old nephew, Roshan, died when the oxy­gen sup­ply stopped, said the hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties and the dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion were try­ing to cover up their fail­ure to pay the bills on time.

“We saw our baby strug­gling to breathe and we couldn’t do any­thing,” Gau­tam said as tears flowed down his weather-beaten cheek.

The fam­ily had rushed the new­born to the hos­pi­tal from neigh­bor­ing Sid­dharth­na­gar dis­trict on Aug. 9 be­cause he had a high fever. “We are now go­ing back with his body,” Gau­tam sobbed. The fed­eral health min­istry sent a team of spe­cial­ists to the hos­pi­tal Satur­day to ver­ify what caused the deaths at the fa­cil­ity, which pro­vides health care to a vast swath of Ut­tar Pradesh and neigh­bor­ing Bi­har state.

BJP Party blamed

Mean­while, op­po­si­tion lead­ers took to so­cial me­dia to blame Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules the state, for its ne­glect and in­dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s health. Op­po­si­tion Congress Party Vice Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims. BJP govt is re­spon­si­ble & should pun­ish the neg­li­gent who caused this tragedy.”

Some of the chil­dren had been treated for en­cephali­tis, a dis­ease that preys on the young and mal­nour­ished and is ram­pant in the state dur­ing the mon­soon sea­son, which runs from June till Septem­ber. The hos­pi­tal, which has be­come a major cen­ter for chil­dren with en­cephali­tis, has treated nearly 370 cases in the last two months. Of th­ese, 129 chil­dren died, said Satish Chan­dra, a hos­pi­tal spokesman.

Health ac­tivists said suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments had ig­nored the threat posed by en­cephali­tis as it was a dis­ease that af­fected poor, mal­nour­ished chil­dren. “En­cephali­tis has a mor­tal­ity rate as high as 30 per­cent. The govern­ment needs to tackle it with a rig­or­ous cam­paign,” said R.N Singh, a med­i­cal doc­tor who has been lead­ing the fight against the dis­ease in Go­rakh­pur dis­trict. “Com­monly, this dis­ease af­fects the voice­less poor, so it has not got the at­ten­tion it war­rants,” Singh said. Go­rakh­pur is lo­cated 300 kilo­me­ters south­east of the state cap­i­tal, Luc­know. —AP

UT­TAR PRADESH: In this Fri­day, Aug 11, 2017 photo, a man holds the life­less body of his child out­side Baba Raghav Das Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal in Go­rakh­pur, in the north­ern In­dian state of Ut­tar Pradesh. —AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.