Shocker! 30 children die in Gorakhpur hospital
Gorakhpur: At least 30 children died in the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College here since the past two days, district magistrate Rajeev Rautela said on Friday.
Though he gave no reason for the deaths, the Union home ministry said according to the SP of Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to a shortage of supply of liquid oxygen.
"As per SP Gorakhpur, 21 children died due to a shortage of supply of liquid oxygen in BRD Medical College, in last 36 hours. Senior officers are on the spot. The exact cause is being verified by the civil administration," a home ministry spokesperson said.
The incident triggered a spate of reactions from the opposition parties, with the Samajwadi Party and the Congress seeking the resignation of the state health minister.
Rautela said 17 children died in the neo-natal ward, 5 in AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) ward and 8 in the general ward over the last two days.
He said seven deaths (neo-natal ward 3, AES ward 2 and general ward 2) were reported since last midnight, while the remaining 23 deaths (neo-natal 14, AES 3 and general 6) were reported since midnight of August 9-10.
To a specific question as to whether the casualties were due to the shortage in supply of oxygen, Rautela, who was camping in the hospital, said he found out from the doctors that no death occurred due to lack of oxygen.
The state government, in an official release in Lucknow, also rubbished reports about non-availability of oxygen at the hospital.
Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said: "The deaths of children were very unfortunate and the government will set up an inquiry committee to ascertain if any lapse has been there and if anyone is found guilty he will be made accountable."
The district magistrate said alternative arrangements had been made from nearby nursing homes since Thursday night and from neighbouring Sant Kabir Nagar district to ensure availability of liquid oxygen for the hospital.
Asked whether the vendor supplying oxygen had stopped doing so pending payment to the tune of Rs 70 lakh, the district magistrate said part payment had been made to the contractor for the supply of oxygen to the hospital.
He said the reason behind the deaths is being ascertained and action will be taken against those responsible.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered to find the exact reasons leading to the deaths so that basic facts could come out by Saturday evening.