Gorakhpur hospital services pause as CM Yogi Adityanath, VIPs come calling

Police restricted vehicular as well as pedestrian movement from the hospital’s main gate to the tragedy-struck ward where at least 30 children died since Thursday.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2017 20:36 IST
Gaurav Saigal and Abdul Jadid
Gaurav Saigal and Abdul Jadid
Hindustan Times / Gorakhpur
BRD Medical College,Yogi Adityanath,UP CM
Visits of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and other VIPs to Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur severely disrupted functioning of the hospital on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)

Authorities turned the tragedy-struck Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur into a fortress for the visit of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and other VIPs on Sunday, allegedly disrupting services to patients at the health facility where at least 64 children have died over six days .

The UP government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party has drawn criticism after the children’s deaths at the facility that had allegedly defaulted on payments of Rs 68 lakh to oxygen suppliers over several months. The government has admitted oxygen supply was disrupted for two hours on Thursday night but ruled it out as the reason for the tragedy.

With CM Adityanath taking stock of the ground realities on Sunday, a large contingent of state police descended on the hospital in the morning to sanitise the area. They restricted vehicular as well as pedestrian movement from the main gate of the state-run medical institute to the 100-bed ward, where the children were admitted.

Police were posted in each ward to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the area. Medicine counters too came to a standstill.

The CM reached the medical college at 12.28pm and went to all the wards with a team of doctors inquiring about the condition of patients. He then held a discussion with doctors and stayed inside the building for over an hour.

During the period, even doctors appeared more concerned about attending the CM than treating the patients.

The worst sufferers were the attendants.

“We have been asked to remain seated in one place until the chief minister leaves the campus,” said Shankar, an attendant who was made to sit in a corner on the road outside the 100-bed ward where his 20-month-old child Om is admitted. He is a resident of Bakhera in Gorakhpur.

It was drizzling, but attendants outside the building had no option but to follow instructions.

Many were stopped at the gate.

“CM sahab is here. Hume intezar karna hoga (The CM is here we need to wait),” said Rajwati, an attendant.

There was no free movement even inside the ward.

“The guard has asked us not to go outside and if we do so, we will not be allowed to come in again. But I need to go outside to get medicines,” said Raju, an attendant.

All the beds in the 100-bed ward, which is a combination of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a general ward, are occupied by severely ill children.

Bihar resident Phoolmati, whose eight-year-old grandson Gullet is admitted in the neonatal ward, said she was asked to take a place in the corner as the CM was expected anytime.

“My grandson is in a semi-conscious state for the last seven days. He is on oxygen support,” she said.

Union health minister JP Nadda and state’s medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon too visited the hospital on Sunday. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, a BSP delegation led by its state president Ram Achal Rajbhar too came calling since the tragedy struck.

Ahead of chief minister’s visit, several MLAs rushed to the hospital to make their presence felt. Some of them even occupied the doctors’ chambers, forcing the physicians to stand outside.

Union minister of state for health Anupriya Patel too visited the 100-bed ward on Saturday night.

“VIPs should follow the protocol like any other common man. When they bring police inside and the area is cordoned off, it obviously hampers treatment,” said a doctor posted at the hospital.

Meanwhile, a brawl between journalists and police inside the ward resulted in the breaking of a glass pane during the chief minister’s visit on Sunday.

First Published: Aug 13, 2017 18:52 IST