61 children, most of them newborns, have died in the last 72 hours at the hospital in Gorakhpur, UP where over 70 infant deaths were reported three weeks ago due to oxygen shortage.
On August 27, 28 and 29, 61 deaths were recorded at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College Hospital.
According to Hindustan Times,11 children died in the encephalitis ward, 25 in neonatal intensive care unit and another 25 in the general pediatric ward.
Local doctors said the number of deaths will increase in the coming days due to heavy rainfall, floods and waterlogging which foster the spread of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).
A doctor at the encephalitis ward said the situation may worsen because of rain and floods. “We get patients from eastern Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and Bihar — states that are reeling under the effects of flood leading to a jump in the number of children coming to the hospital,” he told NDTV.
The hospital, the biggest in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home base Gorakhpur, sees hundreds of patients from neighbouring Bihar, other districts of Uttar Pradesh and even Nepal.
Two weeks ago, over 70 children died in the same hospital after the oxygen supply was cut off due to non-payment of dues to the private supply. The incident sparked international outrage and shed focus on local administrative and medical mismanagement.
Over 70 children died two weeks ago due to cut-off of oxygen supply
More than 70 children lost their lives in a tragic incident of medical mismanagement in BRD Medical College Hospital two weeks ago.
The numbers rose in subsequent days. Most deaths were reported from the neonatal and encephalitis wards.
The deaths were reportedly caused due to non-payment of outstanding accumulated dues worth Rs 68 lakh that the hospital owed to Pushpa Sales, the sole supplier of liquid oxygen to the hospital.
The private company wrote to the hospital repeatedly warning that supply of oxygen could be disrupted if dues were not cleared. The same was also publicised by local media outlets days before the deaths began.
College officials said they had forwarded requests regarding the same to the government but received no response (the college has a history of being severely underfunded).
After the state-run hospital failed to repay its dues, the oxygen supplier cut off the supply.
A partial repayment of Rs 22 lakh was done only on Friday, 11 August, one full day after the tragedy began, one full day when 23 children lost their lives.
Documents disclosed by the local administration revealed that the Uttar Pradesh government and its ministers were aware of the catastrophe that took the lives of 70+ innocent children.
The tragedy has ignited outrage across the country and abroad. Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi termed the tragedy a “massacre”. It has also evoked a political firestorm over allegations of administrative mismanagement and Gorakhpur being UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency for almost 20 years.