30 children die in hospital over 2 days
Thirty children have died at a public hospital in India over the past two days, with government critics blaming a shortage of oxygen for the surge after a supplier of liquid oxygen cut off deliveries because of unpaid bills.
Government officials were scurrying to explain what happened, admitting that the state-run hospital owed more than $50,000 to the oxygen supplier and that oxygen supplies had been “disrupted.”
Officials said the hospital had a backup oxygen supply, though they did not explain why so many children had died in such a short time span. Since Monday, a total of 60 children have died at the hospital, many from acute encephalitis and others in the neonatal unit.
The hospital, Baba Raghav Das Medical College, is in Gorakhpur. It is the rainy season in India, a time when officials say it is not unusual for as many as 10 children to die there every day from Japanese encephalitis, a mosquito-born disease.
Government officials said that by Friday morning, they had found new supplies of oxygen for the hospital.