Gorakhpur Hospital Cleared Rs 65 Lakh Oxygen Dues Only After The Death Of 63 Children
The principal of Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das medical college, under the lens for patient deaths allegedly on account of a disrupted oxygen supply, was suspended after it was disclosed that the funds to clear the oxygen supplier's dues were transferred to the latter only on Friday, after the deaths became national headlines.
The reasons for the delay will be probed, said UP government officials, adding that the situation of low oxygen supply was completely avoidable. The supplier's demand for dues to the tune of Rs 65 lakh reached the state government at Lucknow on August 1, and the funds were released to the college on August 5, official sources said. Even when the UP CM visited the hospital on August 9, they added, no mention was made of any problems in the supply of oxygen.
In a communication to the college on August 8, the supplier, Pushpa Sales, said it would soon suspend supplies due to unpaid dues. "INOX, the firm we are taking oxygen supply from, has expressed inability to continue the supply of oxygen in future, in case we fail to make payments to them," said the letter from Dipankar Sharma of Pushpa Sales to the college principal .
The district administration also did not seem to have reacted to the brewing crisis at the hospital in a timely manner as there were reports in local dailies regarding the payment dispute and the supplier's reported threat to stop the oxygen supply.
Low oxygen was reported at the hospital on August 10, around 7.30pm. This led to the supply for patients being switched from the central system to cylinders. Thereafter the cylinders began to run out, forcing staff to adopt emergency measures such as using hand pumps to aid ventilators. Supply of cylinders was restored around 11.30 and situation stabilised around 1.30am.