Letters Show CM Yogi, Gorakhpur Hospital Ignored on Oxygen Deficit

CM Adityanath had said that all the deaths in BRD Medical college weren’t caused by the shortage of oxygen supply.

4 min read
Children receive treatment at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur district on Sunday. 

Although Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath called the deaths of 65 children in the paediatrics ward of BRD medical college of Gorakhpur as an “unfortunate” incident and even ordered a probe into the matter, evidence suggests that not only the Medical College, but even the CM himself had ignored reminders of critical oxygen supply.

The children reportedly died in the paediatric ward due to the spread of encephalitis and a shortage of oxygen supply, but Yogi Adityanath had dismissed that shortage of oxygen supply had caused all those deaths, even though parents of some of the children told NDTV that they were asked to pump oxygen manually for several hours..

We have constituted a committee to be led by the Chief Secretary to inquire the role of the oxygen supplier in the incident.

According to several media reports, the police has conducted raids at the office of Pushpa Sales, the oxygen suppliers to the hospital. An FIR has been lodged against the company, but letters sent to the Dean of BRD Medical College and CM Adityanath by Pushpa Sales show that both the medical college and the CM ignored the reminders of the pending payments.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/ashutosh83B">@ashutosh83B</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@ashutosh83B)

The first reminder is dated on 6 April 2017, informing the dean of a pending payment of Rs 52,34,774.

“If immediate supply of oxygen is not ensured, it could lead to a threat to the lives of the patients,” the letter warned. The letter also said that over non-payment of dues, Pushpa Sales couldn’t pay the company where it sourced its gas from.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/ashutosh83B">@ashutosh83B</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@ashutosh83B)

Another letter is directly addressed to CM Adityanath, informing of the reminders sent from April onwards till August, stressing that none of the letters had been responded to.

After reports of the incident broke, the UP government said that the staff of BRD medical college did not raise the issue of shortage of oxygen cylinders during the CM’s visit.

“UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had visited BRD Medical College hospital on 9 July and 9 August, and held elaborate discussions with doctors and the principal. The issue of gas supply did not come up, and was not brought to his notice by the doctors and principal either,” UP Health minister Siddarth Nath Singh told reporters in Gorakhpur.

But the letters addressed to the CM suggest otherwise.

Other than reminders, Pushpa Sales had served a legal notice to the hospital on 30 July, with copies to DM Gorakhpur, Director General of Medical Education and Training in Lucknow, and the Principal Secretary, Medical Education.

On 1 August, the BRD hospital owed Pushpa Sales around Rs 63 lakh, of which Rs 20 lakh was repaid on Friday night, as the controversy of the children’s deaths broke. On Saturday, another sum of Rs 30 lakh was received, The Hindu reported.

If immediate supply of oxygen is not ensured, it could lead to a threat to the lives of the patients.

Suspended Principal Blames Yogi’s Visit

Dr Rajeev Mishra, the principal of the college, who had been suspended following the deaths of the infants, blamed CM Adityanath’s visit to the medical college for the non-payment of dues to Pushpa Sales.

Mishra told Scroll.in that he had written at least three to four letters to the state medical education department in July, asking for Rs 2 crore, which was allocated to the college in the state budget, to be released. When the token finally came after verification on 8 August, Mishra said, it couldn’t be sent to the bank for the transfer of Rs 52 lakhs to Pushpa Sales, as Adityanath’s visit scheduled on 9 August kept the hospital administration busy.

“There is always delay in the payment when you deal with the government. That is a fact. It is because of the [delayed] budget allocation,” he told Scroll.in. He said the issue wasn’t discussed with the CM during his visit, as the budget had been cleared.

He also lay some blame with the owner Pushpa Sales, who Mishra alleges, was told about the bank’s delay.

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