A COMMITTEE set up by the UP government to inquire into reports of shortage of liquid oxygen at Gorakhpur-based BRD Medical College and Hospital, allegedly leading to the deaths of over 60 children, has recommended proper “audit” of the stocks maintained at the paediatric department, prima facie suspecting “financial anomalies”.
The five-member team, comprising district officials and the chief medical officer, is headed by Gorakhpur Additional Commissioner (Administration) Sanjay Singh.
“First of all, we found lack of coordination among doctors, who were looking after administration work as well. No one can claim that they did not have information about the warnings giving by the liquid oxygen supplier, as letters sent by it were marked by the department head to the medical college principal. But he went on leave without finding a solution to the problem, despite knowing the sensitivity of the issue,” Singh told The Indian Express.
“The lack of coordination was also reflected in the fact that Dr Satish Kumar, head of anesthesia — responsible for ensuring uninterrupted supply of liquid oxygen — went on leave without proper permission at a time when the shortage was being faced,” he added.
The committee has allegedly found that while a “log book” of oxygen cylinders was started on August 10, a “stock book” — mentioning how many cylinders are in stock — had overwriting in several places. Following this, it prima facie suspected “financial anomaly” and recommended “audit” of the entire stock.
Further, the report held Satish Kumar, along with at least three accountants, prima facie guilty of not “fulfilling their duties”. It also held Chief Medical Superintendent Rama Shankar Shukla, HoD of Paediatric Department Mahima Mittal and nodal officer of ward 100, Kafeel Ahmed Khan, guilty of lack of coordination.
While the hospital administration has been found guilty of not clearing payment to the liquid oxygen supplier despite having budget for the same, the report concluded that Pushpa Sales Private Limited should not have stopped the oxygen supply considering “the life-saving nature” of its work, said sources.
Moreover, the committee has reportedly found that while Satish Kumar and chief pharmacist G Jaiswal were responsible for maintaining a “stock book” of cylinders, records were not maintained properly.
Moreover, Principal Rajeev Mishra was out of the district headquarters on August 10 and Satish Kumar went to Mumbai on August 11 without providing any prior written information on the day the oxygen shortage was reported. The report has found both officials guilty of leaving the hospital and district headquarters without finding solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, PTI reported that one more child died at the hospital on Thursday, raising the number of deaths to 72 since August 7. The deceased was admitted in the encephalitis ward of the medical college.