Health

At Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital, 61 More Children Die in 72 Hours, Number Likely to Rise

Eleven of the deaths in the past three days have been reported from the encephalitis ward, while 25 each have been recorded in the neonatal intensive care unit and general paediatric ward.

Local doctors are of the view that the deaths will only increase in the next few days. Credit: PTI

Local doctors are of the view that the deaths will only increase in the next few days. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Just days after Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College made headlines due to the death of over 70 children in a matter of days, panic has struck the Uttar Pradesh hospital once again as 61 more have died there in the last 72 hours.

While the previous deaths may have occurred after oxygen supply was cut off at the state government-run facility (though the government denied this was the reason), the latest bout is being attributed to varied ailments, including encephalitis, health complexities in newborns, pneumonia, sepsis etc. According to a Hindustan Times report, the hospital has seen a substantial increase in these patients, which has led to overcrowding. The local doctors are of the view that the deaths will only increase in the next few days due to rainfall, floods and water-logging – all of which aid the spread of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).

Eleven of the deaths in the past three days have been reported from the encephalitis ward, while 25 each have been recorded in the neonatal intensive care unit and general paediatric ward.

A recent central panel probe into the mortality situation at the UP hospital had found a severe shortage of medical staff for tending to children and an absence of even the basic hygiene standards. The inquiry had also shed light on the fact that just three of the over 30 nurses in the facility were trained to handle newborns.

Dr R. N. Singh, a paediatrician, told Hindustan Times, “Insufficient homework was done to control the outspread of AES in January, and thereafter the entire machinery remained busy in the UP elections.” Singh further said that heavy monsoon is a major cause for spread of the disease among children and that timely preventative measures like fogging, vaccination and chlorination of water were not taken.

When 30 deaths were reported between August 10-11, according to Indian Express, the Adityanath-led UP government had claimed that the children had died due to encephalitis and other medical reasons and had increased the number of doctors and paramedical staff members in the hospital. The massive inflow of patients, however, has resulted in three-four children being adjusted to a single bed. The Gorakhpur hospital also receives patients from the neighbouring districts of UP, Bihar as well as Nepal, and at any given time, there are about 500 such patients.

  • kujur bachchan

    What a tragic mess. Sixty One children die in seventy one hours. These little souls were fortunate (?) enough to have died in a hospital; and therefore got included in the cold and soulless statistics. As this region is encephalitis prone, many more (possibly in hundreds) children might have died in villages for want of proper medical care. Quite understandably, a callous and insensitive government would not care to reveal the total number of children died so far due to encephalitis, health complexities in newborns, pneumonia, sepsis etc.

    It is time the government machinery sets its priorities right, stirs itself and gets into action mode. Surely the government is not wanting in political will and empathy. Lest one forgets, the little ones – already dead or dying of AES etc. – are human children.

  • Anjan Basu

    Ask Siddharth Nath Singh, and he will tell you this is ‘normal’. So, as he continues to ‘run’ the state health apparatus, children die by the dozen every single day at a ‘superspeciality’ hospital in Adityanath’s UP. Lal Bahadur Shashtri must be turning in his grave as his grandson formulates the new normal.

    • kujur bachchan

      And here is what, the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, talking about the children’s deaths today, told ANI, “Mujhe lagta hai kahin aisa na ho, log apne bachhe, jaise hi 2 saal ke ho, sarkar ke bharose chhodd de, sarkar unka paalan poshan kare (I think what might happen is that as soon as children turn 2 years old, their parents leave them in the government’s care).”

      And, there was I expecting political will and empathy from the government!

      • Anjan Basu

        Writing about the rise of Hitler, Karl Kraus had this to say:” The word fell asleep when that world awoke. ” Much the same way, the craftiest word-smith is left speechless as the UP CM opens his mouth to speak.