Deathnotes: Letters to Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College show how time was running out for children | india news | Hindustan Times
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Deathnotes: Letters to Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College show how time was running out for children

On August 11, more than 30 deaths were reported at the encephalitis ward at the hospital in just two days, opening a can of worms over the state-run facility’s hygiene, medical proficiency and ability to cater to patients.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2017 00:37 IST
Gaurav Saigal
Gaurav Saigal
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Gorakhpur,Baba Raghav Das Medical College,BRD hospital
A man attends to a child receiving treatment at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on August 13, 2017. (AP Photo)

Tragedy unfolded in chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur constituency after more than 30 children died within 48 hours last week allegedly owing to a disruption in the oxygen supply to the encephalitis ward at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College.

As days passed, more deaths were reported while officials conducted inquiries to determine what went wrong since August 7.

The oxygen supplier to the medical college wrote 30 letters since February, reminding the hospital authorities and the Uttar Pradesh government about steadily mounting dues, which led to the supply falling short.

Most of these letters elicited no response, and the firm – Pushpa Sales Private Limited – finally snapped supply that allegedly resulted in the death of at 23 children in 24 hours.

So far, nearly 100 children have died.

Pushpa Sales wrote 30 letters to the hospital authorities and the Uttar Pradesh government
February 13, 2017: Pushpa Sales writes to BRD Medical College principal, asks for dues for to be cleared or that they would be forced to disrupt supplies.
RESPONSE: The principal requests the company to not stop supplies in public interest and promises payment as soon as funds are available.
March 22, 2017: The company sends a reminder.
No response
April 03, 2017: The firm tells college and state officials that dues now total Rs 52,34,774, and supplies will be stopped if not paid.
No response
April 06 and 07: The company sends emails to BRD principal, principal secretary medical education and the director general of medical education, with copies of past correspondence.
No response
April 12, 2017: The company writes to say dues total Rs 55,06,921, and non-payment for last six months makes it difficult for them to source supplies.
No response
April 17, 2017: Same points reiterated again in letter to BRD principal and state officials.
No action
April 24, 2017: The company says dues now total ₹ 57,73,768 and that oxygen supplier INOX has verbally warned of stopping supplies if Pushpa Sales did not pay up Rs 40 lakh in a week’s time.
No response
May 02, 2017: Similar letter.
No response
May 16, 2017: The company acknowledges a payment of Rs 19,81,619 received on May 11 and requests clearance of remaining amount.
No response
May 29, 2017: The company says dues again gone up to Rs 50,80,496.
No response
June 03, 2017: Pushpa Sales writes to the district magistrate of Gorakhpur, saying the contract was for payment within 15 days for each supply, but it was delayed by 4-5 months. The letter points out monsoon is approaching and the number of patients will go up and so will oxygen consumption, hence payments needed to maintain 24-hour supply.
No response
June 13, 2017: Letter points out the pending amount is ₹45,64,504 (in June, the company received about Rs 5 lakh).
No response
July 07, 2017: The company writes to state officials with a list of all pending bills, amounting to Rs 56,31,848.
No response
July 18, 2017: Pushpa Sales says INOX has informed that it would be stopping gas supply unless Rs 40 lakh was paid.
No response
July 30, 2017: The firm sends a legal notice to BRD college stating dues now total Rs 63,65,702, with copies to all state officials.
No response
August 01, 2017: Pushpa Sales warns that it can maintain supply only for the next 4 or 5 days if the payment was not released. Copies of the letter sent to state officials.
No response
August 08, 2017: Company writes to BRD principal saying gas left in the college tank will last only 2-3 days; supply was hindered due to non-payment.
No response
August 09, 2017: Manish Bhandari, director of Pushpa Sales, writes to the state medical education minister about the critical situation at BRD college.
No response

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 17:02 IST