The death toll of children who died in a week at government hospital BRD Medical College in northern India is close to 80, allegedly due to a lack of oxygen in the children’s wards.
Suppliers’ bills had allegedly not been paid, leading to a disruption to the oxygen supply at the hospital.
However, local officials denied the deaths were due to the shortage of oxygen and insisted that they were caused by encephalitis – a mosquito-borne virus that every year ravages poorer parts of Uttar Pradesh – and other illnesses.
But parents have recounted panic and horror as their children suddenly began gasping for air amid an apparent drop in oxygen, and nurses handed out manual pumps to aid their breathing.
Others described the hospital in total chaos, with helpless parents carrying the lifeless bodies of their children, wailing for help.
Parents said the drop in oxygen happened very suddenly, and all the hospital staff were rushing around distributing pump machines to desperate family members of stricken patients.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that he has asked a team of top ministers to determine if the death of the children was actually due to a disruption in oxygen supply at the hospital.
“We have suspended the principal of the BRD Medical College and taking him guilty for his actions and an investigation on him has already been ordered and is underway. Those found guilty won’t be spared,” Adityanath said.
According to data procured from the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, in five days – from Aug 7 to Aug 11, a total of 60 deaths occurred in the hospital.
The procured data also shows the number of oxygen cylinders sent for refilling each day, showing a clear shortage of liquid oxygen in the hospital.