23 children died at the hospital on Thursday, 14 of them in the neo-natal ward, where premature newborns are kept. While nine children died the previous day when the Chief Minister visited, nine on Monday, 12 on Tuesday and seven on Friday, according to the hospital.
On Thursday morning, employees who handle the storage plant at the hospital from where oxygen is piped, , wrote to the Chief Medical Officer informing him that the stock of liquid oxygen was limited and would last only till that evening. That same night, a report shows, oxygen supply at the hospital dipped to a critical low.
Raids were conducted at the Lucknow-based firm that supplied oxygen to the hospital and had stopped because previous bills were not paid. The hospital report records that 300 extra oxygen cylinders were got on late Friday evening from Faizabad.
Yogi Adityanath said he has ordered an inquiry and has promised “strict action against those found responsible.” He has rushed two top ministers, including health minister Sidharth Nath Singh to Gorakhpur.
Gorakhpur’s District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela has ruled out any deaths due to the shortage of oxygen, saying it had been arranged from other suppliers. Officials say that most died due to infection.
“Culprits behind this will not be spared…The Chief Minister visited the hospital on 9 August, but the doctors there did not make him aware about oxygen,” said UP’s health minister Siddharth Nath Singh today, amid demands from opposition parties that he resign.
“Families of the dead were sent off with the bodies, they did not even do autopsies… extremely unfortunate,” former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav alleged in a tweet.