At least 60 children have been reported dead in the state run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur. The rise in the number of deaths have forced thew UP govt to order an inquiry in to the matter while doctors blame the deaths to be caused by infections and disruption in the supply of oxygen in the pediatrics ward, an allegation the hospital administration has denied.
But according to news agency PTI, a Union home ministry statement that quoted the Gorakhpur police superintendent said 21 children died because of shortage of oxygen.
The hospital is positioned under Yogi Adityanath’s constituency and he had paid a visit to the hospital two days ago when he inspected the pediatrics ward and took stock of the arrangements at encephalitis wards.
District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela told reporters that oxygen supply was "disrupted" at the hospital when its regular vendor stopped service because previous bills had not been paid. But, he said, "The medical college officials told us that there was alternative oxygen supply, therefore the charge of lack of oxygen supply can be ruled out."
“The BRD principal told us that out of an outstanding of Rs 70 lakh, Rs 35 lakh was paid to the Lucknow-based firm. But it denied receiving the money,” he added.
“Kins of the deceased were shooed away after handing over dead bodies to them. Post mortem examinations not done on dead bodies. Admission cards were taken out of records. Extremely sad,” tweeted Akhilesh Yadav, the former chief minister and SP leader.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said her heart goes out to the families of the innocent children “who fell prey to gross negligence and incorrigible misconduct on the part of the authorities”. She urged the UP government to take “immediate cognizance of the crime and culprits” and said persons responsible for this neglect must be brought to book.
The Congress and the Samajwadi Party have sought the resignation of UP's health minister. Former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav called for strong action. "Families of the dead were sent off with the bodies, they did not even do autopsies... extremely unfortunate," he alleged in a tweet.