Negligence caused Gorakhpur child deaths: IMA panel

Toni Houston
August 21, 2017

Numerous deaths were alleged to have been caused because of shortage of oxygen, a claim dismissed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court and its Lucknow Bench on Friday directed the centre and state authorities to file their respective replies to a bunch of public interest litigations seeking judicial probe into the death of over 60 children in Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College between 9 and 12 August.

The division bench comprising chief justice D.B. Bhosle and Justice Yashwant Verma has fixed 9 October as the next date of hearing.

In a related development, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court also directed the Yogi Adityanath-led state government and the Director General of Medical Education, UP, to file a counter-affidavit within six weeks to a PIL filed by Lucknow-bases social activist Nutan Thakur.

The advocate general opposed the petition saying that the State government had taken every possible measure in the matter and shall take all possible actions as per the report submitted by the Chief Secretary.

One more child died in Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital here today, apparently due to encephalitis, raising to 72 the number of deaths in the hospital since August 7. The hospital was handling these cases and other critically ill patients much more than its capacity. "Presence of dogs and rats in hospitals is not acceptable by any standards", it added.

The IMA report comes on the heels of a report by the Gorakhpur district administration, which had directly contradicted the Uttar Pradesh government's claims that a shortage of oxygen supply did not kill the 63 children at BRD Hospital.

A team from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has found there is no hospital in Gorakhpur and nearby districts in Uttar Pradesh to manage encephalitis, a disease that affects the brain.

Besides the lack of staff and resources, the report also mentions the alarming conditions in intensive care units (ICUs) in hospitals of at least 10 districts in the Poorvanchal area. The incident came to light on August 11, when close to 30 children died ostensibly due to lack of oxygen, as the hospital failed to pay the supplier's bill despite warnings.

The team included KP Kushwaha, a former principal and head of paediatrics at BRD Medical College, Ashok Agarwal, the IMA vice president, and BB Gupta, president of the IMA's Gorakhpur branch.

The report for the Union Health Ministry, which had several recommendation to improve healthcare at BRD hospital, was submitted August 16.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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