Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy : 60 children die due to lack of oxygen supply

A relative of a child who died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur

A relative of a child who died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur

Yesterday, the BRD medical college recorded more than 30 children death due to encephalitis in a span of 48 hours. On Thursday, the hospital had been functioning without any oxygen cylinders for 2 hours. The hospital has reportedly treated almost 370 cases in the past two months, of which 129 have resulted in deaths.

But according to PTI, a Union home ministry statement that quoted the Gorakhpur police superintendent said 21 children died because of shortage of oxygen. Sources said the supply of oxygen to the hospital was stopped on Thursday night due to non-payment of dues to the firm engaged in supplying oxygen to the hospital. His resignation was confirmed by the state health minister.

Spending on public health in India, relative to the country's GDP, is among the lowest in the world.

In light of the tragedy at the government hospital, Union Health minister J P Nadda on Sunday said the Centre has approved Rs 85 crore for setting up a Central Viral Research Centre in Gorakhpur.

While reports alleged that the children had died after a shortage of oxygen supply to the hospital, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister linked the deaths to encephalitis on Saturday.

"The Chief Minister should take moral responsibility and step down and so must the health minister Siddharth Nath Signh and Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon", he said.

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In Lucknow, terming the death of infants as an outcome of the Uttar Pradesh governments “gross criminal negligence”, the SP and BSP today demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident. Thus he says that the point of shortage of oxygen is not true.

He was suspended for his irresponsible act of allegedly delaying payment to the supplier of oxygen cylinders, the minister added. Opposition politicians have seized on the deaths, calling the government insensitive.

Praveen Modi, owner of Pushpa Sales company, which used to supply oxygen to the BRD Medical College, categorically denied that it had the tender to do so. Of these, 129 children had died, said Satish Chandra, a hospital spokesman.

However, moments before Adityanath's arrival, a father told News Nation channel that was reportedly forced by the hospital administration in Gorakhpur to carry the dead body of his baby on an auto.

11 children died on Saturday and until Friday the death toll stood at 60.

UP director general, medical education, K K Gupta told TOI, "Prima facie, the deaths did not take place due to problem in oxygen supply".

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