At least thirty children, including newborns, have died in the last 48 hours at the state-run Baba Raghav Das (BDR) Medical College in Gorakhpur. The UP Government has started an investigation to ascertain the exact reason behind the large number of child deaths. However, it has ruled out the possibility of linking them to the disruption in the liquid oxygen supply at the hospital.

 Maximum deaths have been reported from the Neonatal and Encephalitis wards of the hospital. 

The Tragedy

Seven children have died at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in the last one day. The maximum, 23 children died on August 10. The same day, the firm which supplies liquid oxygen to the hospital stopped doing so because of non-payment of previous bills.

The Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has this morning ordered an inquiry into the tragedy.

Maximum deaths have been reported from the Neonatal and Encephalitis wards. But the UP government has in multiple statements said they are not linked, as the hospital had access to oxygen from other places.

“There have been no deaths due to lack of oxygen supply,” said UP’s medical education Minister Ashutosh Tondon. He further added that the district magistrate of Gorakhpur has ordered an investigation. The report will be out within 24 hours.

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“Those responsible will not be spared,” State Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said. He added, “The Chief Minister visited the BRD hospital on August 9. Doctors there did not make him aware about oxygen shortage.”

 The Baba Raghav Das Medical College is the largest hospital in Gorakhpur. It has been under Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s parliamentary constituency for the last 19 years.

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.

UP Director General, medical education, K K Gupta told TOI, “Prima facie, the deaths did not take place due to problem in oxygen supply. Back up cylinders were available. The BRD Medical College is the biggest in Purvanchal, and six-seven deaths a day are normal during the peak encephalitis season, when the casualty rates are normally high.”

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 Pic Credits: HT