30 chil­dren die in hospi­tal over 2 days

Austin American-Statesman - - STATESMAN AT THE LEGISLATURE -

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.

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