In a shocking case of negligence, 30 patients, mainly children, choked to death at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur in the last 48 hours due to lack of oxygen supply. Seven deaths took place in the last 24 hours.
Most of the victims were encephalitis patients.
The hospital ran out of oxygen as the supplier stopped it owing to non-payment of dues of around Rs 70 lakh.
However, the Chief Medical Officer of Gorakhpur denied that lack of oxygen was the reason behind the deaths. Instead, he attributed them to various reasons.
Gorakhpur is the parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but not a word of condolence has yet been heard from him.
Even state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, whose grandfather Lal Bahadur Shastri had resigned over a train accident in 1956, was deafeningly silent.
Other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders also denied that the deaths occurred due to shortage of oxygen.
A statement released by District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela said: “Seven deaths are reported in BRD Medical College from Thursday night 12 o'clock, three from NNU (neo natal unit), two from encephalitis ward and two from general paediatric ward. From Wednesday midnight to Thursday midnight 26 died, 14 from NNU, three from encephalitis ward and six from general paediatric ward.
“On Thursday night, I came to know that oxygen supply in the hospital is disrupted, but hospital arranged alternative supply of oxygen cylinders, and I have talked to doctors of the hospital, and they claim that no death occurred due to disruption of oxygen supply.”
However, in a significant admission, the DM said that he had spoken to Pushpa sales company, which supplies oxygen to the hospital, and was told that the hospital owed Rs 70 lakh. Following this, he claimed that Rs 35 lakh has now been made available, and the company will 'continue' oxygen supply. The remaining amount will be released soon, he said.