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‘Went to buy medicines, when I returned my 10-day-old son was dead’: Families recount Gorakhpur tragedy

At least 60 children died over seven days at the hospital in chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency in Gorakhpur

india Updated: Aug 12, 2017 12:21 IST
Abdul Jadid
Abdul Jadid
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
Gorakhpur,BRD Medical College,UP chief minister
A father attends to his child at the BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur on Friday where at least 30 children died in the past two days.(PTI Photo)

Deep Chand had stepped out to buy medicines for his 10-day-old son, admitted to the neo-natal ward of the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur. By the time he returned, about half-an-hour later on Friday, the baby was dead.

Deep Chand was among many grief-stricken parents caught in a nightmarish scenario as child after child died at the government-run hospital over the past few days, most of them allegedly due to lack of oxygen.

At least 60 children died over seven days at the hospital in chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency, 30 of them after a private contractor stopped oxygen supply over a payment dispute.

Though the government has denied oxygen shortage, parents and eyewitness accounts show how the situation spiraled out of control since Thursday.

“Since morning we were hearing that children were dying because of lack of oxygen. (But) we didn’t know that we too will loss our child,” said Saroj Devi, whose seven-year-old daughter Jyoti was among the dead.

“No one other than the doctors are responsible for the deaths,” she added. Jyoti was admitted to the 100-bed children’s ward on Tuesday with high fever and vomiting.

Mohammad Zahid and his wife Amaira’s seven-month-old daughter’s was still alive but they they were not sure if she would survive the crisis.

“She had turned cold and doctors are not allowing me to meet her. All they asked me was to pray to god to save her life,” Zahid said before breaking down into sobs.

The scene at the hospital was both tragic and chaotic – grieving parents carrying bodies in their arms; anxious relatives trying to locate doctors as their children lay gasping for breath.

Grieving relatives of a child who died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur. (Sushil Kumar / Hindustan Times)

Deep Chand was in a state of shock.

“I found my son dead when I returned with bottles of blood and medicine. The doctors simply said my son was no more. I could not understand how he died so soon,” he said.

Most of the parents said the doctors did allow them to see their ailing children and even misbehaved with them.

“Doctors are even slapping patients when they try to meet their children.You can take out CCTV recordings to check it,” said Mrityunjay, whose premature baby was admitted at the hospital.

“Patients are asked to purchase about 90% of medicines from market. Officials and staff do not listen to patients and keep on playing game on the computers,” he said.

By the time the authorities made alternate arrangements for procuring oxygen, it was already too late.

First Published: Aug 12, 2017 10:25 IST