Gorakhpur hospital deaths: Principal suspended, govt says he delayed payment for oxygen

Gorakhpur hospital deaths: While the state government maintained that none of the deaths were related to disruption in oxygen supply, it admitted that there was a shortfall on the intervening night of August 10-11.

Written by Maulshree Seth , Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi/gorakhpur | Updated: August 12, 2017 9:08 pm
gorakhpur hospital, hospital children deaths, gorakhpur hospital photos, up hospital, uttar pradesh, yogi adityanath constituency, indian express Gorakhpur hospital deaths: BRD Medical University Principal Rajeev Mishra giving his explanation in front of Uttar Pradesh Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon and Health Minister of State Sidharth nath Singh on Saturday. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Blaming Dr R K Mishra, principal of the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, for delaying payment to the oxygen supplier, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday announced his suspension. Health Minister Sidhartha Nath Singh said the government had released funds on August 5, but Mishra cleared the payment on August 11, after the deaths of at least 60 children over five days this month. “Owing to laxity, the principal of BRD Medical College has been suspended with immediate effect,” he said at a press conference in Gorakhpur.

Ashutosh Tandon, Minister of Medical Education, said Mishra had forwarded a letter from the oxygen supplier, dated August 1, following which the state government had released funds on August 5. He said the principal claimed that he got the money in his account on August 7, but failed to explain why he did not release it immediately.

Singh also said the hospital administration did not inform Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about the pending payment during his two recent visits to the hospital — on July 9 and August 9. The government has ordered a high-level inquiry by a principal secretary-rank officer.

While the state government maintained that none of the deaths were related to disruption in oxygen supply, it admitted that there was a shortfall on the intervening night of August 10-11.

The main Oxygen gas supply unit of the BRD Medical University seen closed, its level meter shows zero. Express photo by Vishal Srivastav

“On August 10, at around 7:30 pm, supply of liquid oxygen became low… but the demand was met by oxygen cylinders. This system worked only till 11:30 pm… Supply of oxygen cylinders was not sufficient till 1:30 am on August 11, after which alternate arrangements were made,” said Singh, adding that none of the deaths took place during this time.

“The Chief Minister visited BRD on July 9 and held discussions with the staff. He made another visit on August 9. However, the critical issue of oxygen supply was never placed before him. This is a 950-bed hospital which gets patients from Gorakhpur and its adjoining areas, as well as from Nepal,” said Singh.

Singh suggested that some of the children who died were suffering from encephalitis, one had liver failure. Some of them were admitted in the neonatal unit. He cited figures from past years, all from the month of August — 587 children died at the hospital in 2016, 668 in 2015, and 567 in 2014. He said previous records showed that on an average, 17-18 children died at the hospital daily.

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    George Cruz
    Aug 13, 2017 at 4:44 am
    The CM Yogi has been in power only for a short period and the illiterate/brainwashed Christians/Muslims blaming Yogi for this incident is highly deplorable.The truth is that the BJP has been in power only for three years and they introduced the Swatch Bharat campaign but it takes time for the people to adopt it. If BJP had the magic wand they could have achieved it at the flash of stroke. The congress party ruled the country for the last 65 years with economic malaise with their failed socialistic/communistic policies, never bothered to develop India other than looting country's wealth with corruption and various scams, divided the people of India based on the religion/caste favoring minorities while at the same time demonizing the larger Hindus and the patriotic organizations like the RSS/VHP/Hindutva, etc. The Muslims/Christians who are blinded by their religion still vote for the failed/incompetent congress party blindly out of hate for the BJP/RSS.
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      Dileep
      Aug 13, 2017 at 1:30 am
      They had enough money for cow ambulances but not for vital things like oxygen cylinders. Shame on these morons.
      Reply
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        Good Oil
        Aug 13, 2017 at 3:46 am
        Satire: If the company supplying oxygen had paid the clerk facilitation money on time, payment to the company would havd been released on time and oxygen supplies resumed. These kind of things happen in a democracy. Our judiciary is very clear, if women wanted to hug Shanesshwar in Gorakpur, a special session could have been arranged and a judgement issued urgently. Our media was waiting to expose the corruption in the hospital. Will anyone in India read a news item which says, "Clerk asks Rs 10,000 to release payment of Rs 5 lacs". Is that even news? Police would have arrested the corrupt person , if only the clerk had signed it himself and filed it in Triplicate. As public, we would have gathered in big numbers and demanded justice, if we had been paid Rs 1000 per day and trucks arranged to carry us to the site. In addition, how can we protest if the corrupt clerk was of my own caste? People have to analyze the situation from all angles.
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        Atul
        Aug 12, 2017 at 11:48 pm
        It is very clear that the prin l wanted money for releasing the payment which he did not get so he did not release the payment. This is across all government sector in India. the corruption has taken lives of the kids. Rest assured, the principle would be back in office after 3 months.
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          deepak sankhla
          Aug 12, 2017 at 11:23 pm
          Mere suspension of that ba$t rd won't do! This is a criminal negligence which must attract harshest punishment!! Period.
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            Murthy
            Aug 12, 2017 at 11:02 pm
            First of all the Health Minister should be fired for a Medical College Hospital Pri l doesn't have the contingency funds to pay for vital material such as Oxygen, that too for breathing. Secondly, the Prin l should be fired jailed for not requesting funds in advance so that the admin delays in Govt is taken into account. Also, when Oxygen is running short, for not making alternate supplier, or keeping stock of Oxygen at least for a few days. The Supplier of Oxygen should be arrested and jailed for so ruthlessly pulling plug of supply knowing that their actions will result in the death of so many innocent lives who are already breathing to live. SUCH BARBARIC, INHUMAN ACTS OF GOVERNMENT STAFF. AS USUAL, INQUIRY IF ANY WILL RESULT IN NOTHING AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE AFTERWARDS.
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              deepa
              Aug 12, 2017 at 11:25 pm
              Do we not have automatic payment system where supplier delivers monthly oxygen and payment is made routinely. Don't understand why oxygen was not supplied on time? Many supplier would be ready to supply to government, it's assured business. A system capable of detecting oxygen inventory is not in place. I bet the pressure gauge in image is not checked and recorded daily. You can get pressure gauge with alarm system in few thousand rupees. Why this should happen? Remove human intervention and automate. No wonder robot will take over.
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              pradeeps
              Aug 12, 2017 at 11:00 pm
              RSS/BJP/ISI agents are trying to blame this on congress. Lol. Firstly, Yogi and his mentor has been the minister for gorakur since 1989. So they can't blame anyone. Secondly, RSS/BJP opposed cons ution, equal rights for dalits and women, English, computers, pro development reforms in 90s. Imagine how backward India would have been if RSS/BJP had its way. Indians won't get fooled by RSS/BJP/ISI agents anymore.
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                pradeeps
                Aug 12, 2017 at 11:00 pm
                RSS/BJP/ISI agents are trying to blame this on congress. Lol. Firstly, Yogi and his mentor has been the minister for gorakur since 1989. So they can't blame anyone. Secondly, RSS/BJP opposed cons ution, equal rights for dalits and women, English, computers, pro development reforms in 90s. Imagine how backward India would have been if RSS/BJP had its way. Indians won't get fooled by RSS/BJP/ISI agents anymore.
                Reply
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                  pradeeps
                  Aug 12, 2017 at 10:59 pm
                  RSS/BJP/ISI agents are trying to blame this on congress. Lol. Firstly, Yogi and his mentor has been the minister for gorakur since 1989. So they can't blame anyone. Secondly, RSS/BJP opposed cons ution, equal rights for dalits and women, English, computers, pro development reforms in 90s. Imagine how backward India would have been if RSS/BJP had its way. Indians won't get fooled by RSS/BJP/ISI agents anymore.
                  Reply
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