Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Infant deaths: Gorakhpur medical college principal suspended

Infant deaths: Gorakhpur medical college principal suspended

Almost 60 children have died in the past five days in Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital, forcing Uttar Pradesh government to launch a magisterial enquiry into the incident.

"We are suspending BRD medical college principal with immediate effect for this negligent behaviour", Ashutosh Tandon, the Health Minister and Siddharth Nath Singh, Minister for Medical Education said.

In a statement, the hospital said "the pressure of the liquid oxygen supply became low" and that reserve cylinders were arranged, but did not specify whether that had resulted in any deaths and why so many children had died in just two days.

Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela has also given a breakup of the casualties.

Informed sources told IANS that senior health officials were monitoring the situation and admitted that the state government had been left red-faced because of the deaths took place in the Chief Minister's hometown.

Akhilesh blamed the present state government of being non-serious towards such issues, and said what has happened is a serious matter. He urged the Opposition parties to not politicise the tragic deaths.

State health minister Siddharthnath Singh, too, dismissed reports.

"30 kids died in hospital without oxygen".

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Though the deaths coincided with a disruption in the hospital's oxygen supply Thursday, the province's government has denied a connection and said the children died of "various medical reasons and illnesses".

The region is one of India's poorest and registers hundreds of child deaths each year from Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, which is rife in parts of eastern and northern India.

Gorakhpur is the Lok Sabha constituency of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the incident comes barely two days after his visit here.

He also demanded, probe panel headed by Supreme Court judge and an all-party delegation to visit the hospital for fair investigation.

According to hospital records, 7 children died on Friday, 23 died on Thursday, 9 on Wednesday, and 12 on Tuesday, 9 on Monday. They have been directed to inspect the situation and take strict action, a government spokesperson said.

Tandon also assured of a high level probe into the multiple deaths, headed by the Principal Secretary. "The BJP government is responsible and should punish the negligent who caused this tragedy", Rahul Gandhi said.

The Hindustan Times newspaper on Saturday described chaotic scenes at the hospital as oxygen supply was disrupted.

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