Shock, anger in Gorakhpur: How could hospital be callous in Yogi’s constituency?
Shocked by the death of dozens of children at the in the BRD Medical College, residents of Gorakhpur now await the arrival of chief minister Yogi Adityanath to provide solace and to crack whip on the erring medical college and district administration officers.
Residents are sore that despite Gorakhpur being the CM’s parliamentary constituency, such a tragedy has unfolded.
“How could the hospital administration be callous to our suffering when they know that chief minister Adityanath represents the constituency in which the medical college is located?” asked Bhagwati Yadav whose seven-year-old daughter was battling for life in the encephalitis ward. None of the senior administrative officers visited the hospital when the patients were collapsing due to oxygen crisis, he said.
“Adityanath had been concerned over the continuing deaths of the children in BRD Medical College and assured better facilities after BJP forms government. We cannot imagine that officers could be so callous when Mahantji (the local people call Adityanatth since he is head priest of Gorakhnath Mutt) is at helm off affairs,” said Gauri Nishad whose son is admitted in the hospital.
Locals have also taken to social media to demand that Adityanath visits Gorakhpur immediately. “Only the visit of Yogi Adityanath will improve the working in the BRD Medical else the death toll will mount,” said Aditya Kumar a student in the DDU Gorakhpur University.
As the pressure mounted, the state government announced that health minister, Siddharth Nath Singh and medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon will visit the BRD Medical College Hospital to take stock of the situation. But locals want the CM to show up.
“Adityanath is our representative, so rather than sending the ministers he should visit the hospital and meet the parents whose children are undergoing treatment in the hospital. Large deaths have shaken their faith in the hospital machinery,” said Radhey Shyam, a resident of Khorabar area near Gorakhpur.
When death stalked children in the wards of the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College snuffing lives, the alleged cold response of the medical college administration added to the plight of the parents as they ran from one ward to another in search of oxygen supply points. The fortunate ones managed to get temporary oxygen device to resuscitate their children. The absence of the principal, Professor Rajeev Mishra from the scene was startling as the doctors struggled to get oxygen the from the SSB hospital.
On August 9 Adityanath had reviewed the arrangements in hospital during his two-day visit to Gorakhpur but the officers did not tell him about the impending oxygen crisis due to non-payment of the bills. He was even kept in dark about the deaths of the children that started on August 10 when he was visiting the neighbouring Maharajganj district.
“When the toll started mounting, the medical college administration informed the top Government officers about the crisis,” said Ashok Prasad who runs a pharmacy on the on Medical College road.
“The medical college administration and district administration officers are aware that each year there is large flow of patients to the hospital during monsoon. They still failed take steps to meet the emergency and non-clearance of the oxygen bill shows that officers are callous and unconcerned about the facilities in the hospital,” said CB Prasad, a doctor.
A social activist Vinod Kumar Singh said the plight of the patients admitted in BRD Medical College was among the top agenda of the chief minister when he contested the Lok Sabha elections from Gorakhpur. He blamed the BSP and SP government for the neglect of the patients admitted in BRD Medical College hospital.
In the Lok Sabha last year, Adityanath attacked the then Samajwadi Party state government for neglecting the issue.
“For 36 years, the death of the children is being reported in Gorakhpur region. Around one lakh children have died, and majority of those who have survived are disabled. The state government has been insensitive to recurrent deaths even though central government has released much funds,” Adityanath had said.
Demanding that Japanese encephelitis (JE) and acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) should be declared an epidemic, Adityanath had said that along with strengthening the facilities in the BRD Medical College hospital a drive should be launched on a war footing for the eradication of the disease.
The shoe is now on the other foot. While the state government insists the deaths were not due to oxygen crisis, opposition parties have mounted pressure. Local Congress, SP and BSP leaders visited the hospital and urged the medical officers to provide relief to the patients admitted in the wards.
BJP MLA from Gorakhpur, Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal who is also a paediatrician said heads would roll.
“I talked with the CM over the issue and demanded strict action against the Medical College officers and district administration officers. The CM told me that he has sought a report from the health and medical education minister, the responsibility of the officers will be fixed and strict action will be taken against the erring officers,” he said.