Gorakhpur deaths: Parents made to run around for blood, medicines, cotton, now post-mortems

On August 7, Brahmdev, 30, a farmer from Bagagada village in Gorakhpur, for the first time noticed the oxygen-level indicator outside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at BRD Medical College hospital.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | Gorakhpur | Updated: August 14, 2017 9:09 am
Bihari Yadav carrying away the body of his son Sumit,4, just five minutes before CM Yogi Adityanath arrives for his visit on Sunday at BRD Medical College. Sumit was in the Gorakhpur hospital for the last eight days. (Source: Vishal Srivastav)

As their children admitted at BRD Medical College collapsed before their eyes, parents say they spent hours trying to get doctors to attend to them, arranging for medicines including basic cotton gauze and glucose injections themselves, running around for blood, and seeking answers. Now, the wait has begun for death certificates and post-mortems.

On August 7, Brahmdev, 30, a farmer from Bagagada village in Gorakhpur, for the first time noticed the oxygen-level indicator outside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at BRD Medical College hospital. “There were three levels — normal, high and low. On August 7, the indicator showed low,” says Brahmdev.

That was four days after he had brought his twins, suffering from high fever, to the hospital. By August 10, Brahmdev and wife Suman’s 10-day-old girl and boy were both dead.

By August 8 itself, they had realised something was wrong, Brahmdev says. The nursing staff inside the NICU had started using “ambu bag” — a hand-held device to provide ventilation to patients not breathing adequately. “By the next day, I had seen deaths of four kids,” he says, the most in one day since he had come to the hospital. “No parent could ask a question. No parent could go inside. We stood helpless watching the children suffer.”

He says he tried to question the nursing staff about the indicator showing low levels of oxygen. “The staff did not respond.” By then, Brahmdev adds, some children had also been put on glucose.

gorakhpur, gorakhpur deaths, gorakhpur hospital deaths, gorakhpur hospital tragedy, Yogi Adityanath, Up government, A large number of children admited at ICU for encephalitis treatment. Express photo by Vishal Srivastav

“On August 8 and 9, they asked me to get 30 ml and 40 ml of blood. I went to the blood bank and donated my blood to get it. I asked them what had happened, again they did not speak a word,” the father says. “At 8 pm on August 9, they just came to me and told me my son had died. They handed over the body and told me to take it. No doctor told me why my son had died. I knew something had gone wrong,” Brahmdev says.

Read | Gorakhpur tragedy brings under scanner newborn care units in hospitals

That day, the hospital reported nine infant deaths, including six in the NICU.

However, Brahmdev and Suman’s ordeal wasn’t over. Still holding their dead son, they watched their daughter suffer inside the NICU. “The staff were using ambu bags. By now, the cylinders had disappeared. I saw blood oozing out of her mouth. There was only one nurse and one doctor looking after the entire NICU,” Brahmdev says.

At 6.30 am on August 10, their daughter too was declared dead.

They had come to BRD Medical College and Hospital as they didn’t have Rs 7,000 for treatment at a private hospital, the parents cry. “We needed the ICU faculty that is why we were forced to admit our son and daughter in this hospital. Dr Rajesh Gupta, a private physician, said that they should be kept under observation. From August 3 till 7, they were fine,” sobs Brahmdev.

Workers supply Oxygen cylenders on early morning in wards on saturday morning. Express photo by Vishal Srivastav

Slamming the hospital, he says, “They did not give us any free medicines. They did not have as simple a thing as cotton gauze and syringes in the NICU. They asked me to get that. I also bought calcium, glucose injections.”

Just half an hour before Brahmdev’s daughter died, Bahadur was informed that his four-year-old son Deepak, who was admitted the day before, could not breathe. His wife Nandini, who says she saw Deepak die, says “doctors’ negligence and lack of oxygen” killed their son.

Read | Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: Yogi Adityanath promises stringent action, BRD medical college nodal officer sacked

Describing his last moments, she says, “They were using something like a balloon, and pumping air. Suddenly, my son’s stomach swelled up. The nurse screamed out loud and started running around. The doctor then started compressing the chest. In two hours, my son was dead.”

Nandini adds that on August 9, when they arrived with Deepak, there was no one to attend to them or the other patients as the staff were busy preparing for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit to the hospital. “We came at 1 pm, and till 6 pm, no one visited the ward. I went to Ward No. 12 and pleaded with the doctor to come and see my child. But the security officer said that everyone was busy with the CM’s visit. The delay worsened my son’s condition,” Nandini says.

After his children died, Brahmdev protested at the hospital demanding documents citing the reason for their death. The death certificate issued for the boy states that the infant died to “cardio-respiratory failure”. This is sudden and unexpected loss of heart function, leading to respiratory failure, and cause of death needs to be established in each case. Brahmdev says he hasn’t got even a death certificate for his daughter, while the hospital released the bodies without post-mortem.

While he suffered in silence all this while, now he wouldn’t, Brahmdev says. “I have buried the bodies in a manner that they can be exhumed easily. I want the authorities to conduct a post-mortem. I want the truth to come out.”

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  1. J
    Jay
    Aug 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm
    Make in India to become an empty talk: Modi became the prime minister, India's industrial GDP share continued to decline, has dropped to 15 percent is still declining (previously is 18 percent), Modi's om reform has been completely failed, it's not only resulting in to large number Regional clashes of racial and religion ,also resulting in to a large number of unemployed, Modi should step down at the same time sent to prison!
    Reply
    1. J
      Jay
      Aug 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm
      Make in India has to become an empty talk: Modi became the prime minister, India's industrial GDP share continued to decline, has dropped to 15 percent is still declining (previously is 18 percent), Modi's om reform has been completely failed, it's not only resulting in to large number Regional clashes of racial and religion ,also resulting in to a large number of unemployed, Modi should step down at the same time sent to prison!
      Reply
      1. J
        Jay
        Aug 15, 2017 at 8:49 pm
        Make in India has become an empty talk: Modi became prime minister, India's industrial GDP share continued to decline, has dropped to 15percent is still declining (previously 18 percent), Modi's om reform has been completely failed, not only led to a large number of Regional racial clashes, also led to a large number of unemployed, Modi should step down at the same time sent to prison!
        Reply
        1. R
          Ravi Rikhye
          Aug 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm
          Samir, Considering India spends 1.6 GDP on defense, which is very low given our threats, yes, we do need more money for defense. At the same time, was the Gorakhpur tragedy due to lack of money or due to inefficiency and/or corruption? Basic health care does not take a lot of money, as seen from countries like Cuba.
          Reply
          1. S
            Samir
            Aug 15, 2017 at 8:08 am
            Our demographic dividend is NO.1 in the world. 70 children are not a big deal. The immediate priority is to increase military budgets rather than improve the medical environment. Boycott Chinese goods and drive the Chinese out . Jai Hind!
            Reply
            1. J
              Jay
              Aug 15, 2017 at 8:50 pm
              Make in India has become an empty talk: Modi became prime minister, India's industrial GDP share continued to decline, has dropped to 15percent is still declining (previously 18 percent), Modi's om reform has been completely failed, not only led to a large number of Regional racial clashes, also led to a large number of unemployed, Modi should step down at the same time sent to prison!
              Reply
            2. R
              Raj Parwani
              Aug 14, 2017 at 11:42 pm
              I ask Indians not to regret how Amit Shah is thinking or how heartless Amit, Yogi or Modi are. You Indians were bedraggled in communal and religious hate when you elected those monsters, now accept what is happening in streets and hospitals of India, what you reap is what you sow. Didn't feel bad when Muslim kids were killed in train but feel bad when 70 Hindu kids dies because of extremist hate monsters you elected. India you deserve that, and mark my words, its just the beginning. "Begunah Musalman, Christian or Dalist ki aahain tum logon ko tabah kerdain gi". I am a Pakistani Hindu and I am proud that Pakistanis never elected any extremist Islamic party to position of power but you guys showed complete ignorance and hatred by electing BJP in most places.
              Reply
              1. R
                Rui da
                Aug 14, 2017 at 10:04 pm
                I am glad some Indians are awakening to the reality of our corrupt administration. the BJP will be the nail in India's coffin!
                Reply
                1. B
                  BBC
                  Aug 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm
                  According to the World Bank statistics, as of the end June 2017, India foreign debt totaled 1.8 trillion dollars,interest rate up to 8 percent(China is 2.2 percent),foreign debt annual interest about 142 billion dollars,Account for financial income 30 percent(China is 1.5 percent),far more than the internationally recognized 3 percent of the financial warning line.China foreign debt only 1.6 trillion dollars(China debt,90 percent is China Domestic debt),The most dangerous is India short-term foreign debt interest and other payables than 470 billion dollars,more than 300 billion dollars of foreign exchange reserves,the next is national bankruptcy, currency devaluation, declaring the reform failure of Modi,Therefore,Modi imitated Argentina,in order to transfer the Indian people's attention,Provoke with foreign territorial disputes.Note:80s Argentina reform failed,National economic bankruptcy,Argentina launched to British Malvinas islands War,Argentina fiasco,So lost Malvinas islands
                  Reply
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