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Gorakhpur deaths: Probe team faces ‘tough time’ in extracting info

lucknow Updated: Aug 19, 2017 12:06 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
BRD Medical College,Oxygen shortage,Infant deaths

An infant at the encephalitis ward at BRD medical centre in Gorakhpur. A team appointed by the Uttar Pradesh government is investigating the death of serval infants and children at the hospital this month.(HT PHOTO)

The team probing the death of several neonates at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College has reportedly run into stonewalling tactics by hospital authorities in its quest to access documents related with oxygen supply.

Some of the doctors and para medical staff also allegedly avoided facing the team which visited the hospital on Thursday.

Only some of the complainants their recorded statement before the team comprising Uttar Pradesh health secretary Alok Kumar, finance secretary Mukesh Mittal and medical superintendent of Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) Dr Hem Chandra.

The team met BRD principal Dr PK Singh, superintendent in-charge AK Srivastava and a few other doctors posted at the paediatric ward.

“The hospital authorities are yet to provide us all the documents demanded by our team,” confirmed a team member while talking to HT on Friday.

“If the supply is centralized, it has to be controlled by a central gas pipeline at a given pressure. Oxygen cylinders placed along bedside are used only if that pressure is disturbed. We have asked them about time at which the supply pressure was disturbed or broken,” said the team member, not willing to be named.

The probe team is also looking for answers as to why the oxygen cylinders placed at the bedside were not used.

“We are also yet to get satisfactory answer to the vital question that whether there was oxygen in the cylinders and who was responsible for managing all these activities,” he said.

Read more: Nine more children die in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, toll at 105

The probe team has also sought details of the man who issued death certificate to the first child who died on August 9.

“It could lead us to the person who didn’t raise an alarm about supply of oxygen getting disrupted,” he said while admitting that officials at BRD Medical College failed to extend full cooperation to the probe team.

He, however, denied any pressure on the team.

“We have been given a free hand to probe every aspect. Prima facie it looks like a mix of both human error and flaws in the system that led to a massive tragedy,” he said.

The team is expected to submit its report on August 20.

Earlier, another probe team constituted by the Gorakhpur district magistrate had also scanned the oxygen supply record and found that no stock and log registers were maintained.

The DM-appointed probe team had blamed the in-charge for oxygen supply Dr Satish and chief pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal for anomalies.

It had also detected overwriting in the stock and log book.

The district officials had also failed to present the stock register since March. When asked how the medical college made payments if stock register was not maintained, the BRD college officials had refused to comment.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 11:13 IST