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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Gorakhpur hospital deaths: 8 questions that remain unanswered

At least 30 children died in 48 hours in the hospital, allegedly after oxygen supply was snapped over non-payment of dues.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2017 11:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A scene at the encephalitis ward at BRD hospital in Gorakhpur.
A scene at the encephalitis ward at BRD hospital in Gorakhpur.(HT Photo/Deepak Gupta)

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday suspended the principal of a medical college where 23 infants died in 24 hours but denied that a snag in oxygen supply caused the deaths that shocked India and triggered a political blame game.

State health minister Siddharth Nath Singh said oxygen supply was disrupted at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur for two hours on Thursday night but ruled it out as the reason for the tragedy.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath echoed Singh and also blamed a lack of cleanliness and hygiene. Later, he announced an investigation by the state chief secretary into the role of the hospital’s sole oxygen vendor who cut off supplies over dues.

Announcing that a committee headed by chief secretary Rajive Kumar was constituted to probe the role of the supplier and causes of disruptions, if any, in supply, the CM said the company supplying oxygen was appointed during the previous regime in 2014.

The probe committee will submit its report in a week but there are several questions that remain unanswered.

1. What explains the death of 23 children in one day? Did they die of lack of oxygen or encephalitis?

2. UP health minister said oxygen supply was disrupted for two hours between Thursday 11.30 pm and Friday 1.30am. How many children were on oxygen then?

3. How was oxygen supply restored at 1.30am? Who supplied?

4. Since no post-mortem was done, how will the cause of the deaths be determined?

5. Why did the hospital not heed repeated warnings by the supplier about possible disruption in oxygen supply over non-payment of dues?

6. Why was the dues allowed to accumulate to Rs 68 lakhs.

7. If oxygen supply was not the reason behind the deaths, why was a partial payment of Rs 21 lakh made to the supplier on Friday night?

8. Why couldn’t this payment be made earlier?

First Published: Aug 12, 2017 23:44 IST

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