Responding to two separate questions in Lok Sabha on Friday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told the House that there was no indication that death of more than 60 children at a Gorakhpur hospital last August was a result of negligence. The ministry also said there was no information that any newborn had died for lack of oxygen.
More than 60 children had died at BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur between August 7 and 11 last year.
It was initially reported that the hospital had run out of oxygen supply, leading to the deaths. In October 2017, the police filed a chargesheet against seven people, including two doctors and the proprietor of the agency responsible for oxygen supply to the hospital, for attempt to commit culpable homicide and criminal conspiracy.
The ministry’s response in Parliament today ruled out both initially reported causes of deaths: oxygen shortage and negligence.
In response to Congress MP K V Thomas’s question — “whether newborn children have died in various parts of the country due to non-supply of oxygen in time” — Health Minister J P Nadda said, “As per information received from states, there are no such incidents reported where death of newborn children occurred due to lack of life-saving oxygen.”
AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi had asked whether “a large number of children’s death have been reported…due to human negligence…”. In reply, MoS (Health) Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated that there were “reports of newborns’ deaths from various hospitals in the country” in July and August 2017. Choubey said that “central teams were sent to these hospitals and reports were also received from State Governments. The findings do not indicate any human negligence.”