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Gorakhpur probe report says children died due to oxygen crisis, blames principal and doctors

The DM’s report says Rajiv Mishra, the then principal of BRD Medical College, was aware of the impending oxygen crisis but failed to alert seniors in the medical education and health departments.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2017 09:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Gorakhpur,Yogi Adityanath,BRD Medical College
A woman with her son affected by encephalitis at the BRD medical college in Gorakhpur on Tuesday.(Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

A probe report released by the Gorakhpur district administration has reportedly identified oxygen deprivation as the reason for the death of several children admitted to the encephalitis and neonatal wards of the BRD Medical College Hospital between August 10 and 11, but refrained from blaming the Uttar Pradesh government for the tragedy.

As many as 72 children died at the Gorakhpur hospital after oxygen supply was cut off last week, a development that BJP president Amit Shah described as a “tragedy, a mistake that happened at some level”. He, however, rejected the Opposition’s call for chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation.

The state government had ordered the investigation by Gorakhpur district magistrate Rajeev Rautela on August 12, a day after the incident came to light. The probe report sent to the chief secretary has reportedly charged the doctors, paramedical staff and clerks of the medical institution with criminal negligence, while maintaining that the state government was unaware of the situation.

According to sources, the district magistrate’s report has accused institute principal Rajiv Mishra of failing to alert the medical education and health departments to the impending oxygen crisis despite being aware of it. He did not inform Adityanath about the Rs 69 lakh in pending dues owed to oxygen supplier Pushpa Sales either, and instead went on leave soon after the chief minister’s visit to the medical college on August 9, it added.

The district magistrate’s report went on to demand strict action against Pushpa Sales for stopping oxygen supply – which it termed as an “emergency service” – to the medical college.

Rautela’s report also accused Dr Satish Kumar, a member of the BRD Medical College Hospital’s purchase committee, of going on leave from August 11 without taking Mishra’s permission. Kumar was additionally charged with failing to get a faulty air-conditioner installed at the encephalitis ward repaired on time.

A health department official said the district magistrate has recommended action against paramedical staffer Gajanan Jaiswal, who was responsible for maintaining a log book of oxygen supply, and a few clerks employed in the finance section of the institute. Dr Kafeel Khan, the then in-charge of the encephalitis ward, was also said to have been named in the report.

Chief secretary Rajive Kumar confirmed the receipt of the district magistrate’s report, but did not issue an official statement on its findings.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 07:35 IST