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‘No oxygen’, 30 die in 36 hrs in Gorakhpur

Lucknow, August 12
Thirty patients, including 17 newborns, have died at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur in the past 36 hours allegedly due to the drying up of oxygen.
Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela has ordered a magisterial inquiry which will within 24 hours ascertain if oxygen supply had been disrupted and if the deaths were directly related to it.

He said the hospital management and doctors were categorically denying that the lack of oxygen was the cause of death. He did admit that there had been some problem with the piped supply but doctors assured him that there was a stock of 50 cylinders and another 100 were on their way.
It now appears that the deaths had been successfully covered up by the nexus of senior officials and doctors and hospital management during Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s two-day visit to his constituency, which concluded on Thursday.
While admitting 30 deaths, the DM refused to accept short supply of oxygen as the cause of the 17 deaths in the neonatal department or the 13 Japanese Encephalitis (JE) deaths in the ICU.
Sources, however, point out that the private company supplying liquid oxygen to the Nehru Hospital attached to the BRD Medical College had warned of snapping off supplies due to arrears piling up to the tune of Rs 60 lakh, while the agreement was for arrears only up to Rs 10 lakh.
A liquid oxygen plant had been installed at the college two years ago. Through this plant, oxygen was being supplied to the special JE wards, ICUs and around 300 beds.
After the warning of the suppliers, the hospital management had arranged for oxygen cylinders, which were clearly inadequate.
Around 7 am on Friday, oxygen reportedly ran out, after which the deaths started occurring. Ironically, Minister for Medical Education Ashutosh Tandon was not aware of the deaths.