The Gorakhpur Incident
After a wait of 8 years, a couple in Uttar Pradesh gave birth to twins on August 2nd. Their family members waited outside the hospital with the box of sweets to celebrate new life. Little did they know that they will be losing both the kids to one of the most tragic events India has ever seen.
Sixty babies were reported dead in a span of one week at the Baba Raghav Das medical college located in Gorakhpur,Uttar Pradesh. Why? Lack of oxygen supply. The alleged reason for some of the deaths is that the hospital was unable to pay their oxygen cylinder dues which was a whopping 69 lakhs and the supply was cut short.
According to WHO medical error is one of the top 10 reasons for deaths. Each year, 5.2 million people die due to human error in our country. The errors can range from a simple miscommunication between medical staff to lack of basic amenities. 5.2 million lives is the price we pay for poorly developed healthcare system every year. It is indeed expensive.
On August 12th the nation lost 30 infants at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College. In just 24 hours a situation similar to genocide had taken place and the death toll was still increasing. At least 30 children have been reported dead (between Aug 10 and Aug 11) due to lack of oxygen supply.According to reports by Hindustan Times, Pushpa Sales, the hospital’s only oxygen supplier has been sending them regular notifications regarding the bill dues and warned them about the disruption of oxygen supply if the dues were not cleared. They have also continued supplying the cylinders despite the dues till April 16. Moreover, they claim that they have written mails to state health minister, chief minister of UP apart from Director General Medical Education and Principal secretary of the department.
Right to Information Violated
The parents and the family members were not given exact details of what happened inside the hospital. There was no transparency. Some of the parents did not even receive death certificates of their kids.
Steps Taken by Central and State Government
BJP president Amit Shah says that India has faced similar incidents before under congress government and chief minister of UP Yogi Adityanath has ordered an investigation. He also assured that the guilty will be punished.
Criminal charges have been registered against the principal of the college, Dr.Sathish, head of the oxygen supply unit and Dr.Khan, in charge of the 100 Acute Encephalitis Syndrome ward.
The Shady Doctor
Dr.Khan who was considered a hero for arranging oxygen cylinders at the last moment was terminated from the hospital. He also faces other criminal charges for stealing oxygen cylinders, for allegedly hiding facts while submitting affidavit to the chief medical officer and for violating the rules of Indian Medical Council.
Transparency International ranks India’s medical industry as the second most corrupt institution citizens encounter following the police.
As citizens of this country we can do our part by being aware of our rights and various laws that protect us. We can also educate the masses and fight for justice. We have proven in the past that if we unite we are unstoppable.
It is not the time for blame game. It is the time for coming together and protecting the people of this country. If political parties own up to their mistakes and take appropriate actions, the nation will not to have to face another similar tragedy again. Medical negligence should be taken seriously in our country. India already suffers a poor doctor:patient ratio. Lack of proper care only adds to the health care burden of the country. One should not forget that a healthy nation is important for prosperity.