Gorakhpur tragedy: Is August the cruellest month for BRD Medical College?

As many as 587 deaths were recorded in the paediatric wing of the college in the same month last year, taking the average to 20 deaths a day.

Published: 15th August 2017 01:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2017 01:15 AM   |  A+A-

Relatives carry a child at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital where over 60 children have died over the past one week in Gorakhpur district on Monday. | PTI

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: While UP government representatives accepted disruption in oxygen supply but denied its shortage as the reason for the BRD Medical College tragedy last Saturday the trend at the medical college in previous years establishes infections, acute kidney damage, neo-natal complications and dreaded encephalitis as some of the reasons for high mortality rates in the previous years.

As per the government claims, not a single of those 23 deaths occurred when the oxygen supply was interrupted. The last death took place at 10.05 pm on August 10, while the supply was still on and it went down at 11:30 pm.  

The next death was registered at 5.30 am on August 11, when oxygen cylinders were being used to ensure supply. As per college records, August witnesses the maximum load of patients and relatively high number of casualties.

As many as 587 deaths were recorded in the paediatric wing of the college in the same month last year, taking the average to 20 deaths a day. In 2015 and 2014, the average deaths in a day in August were 22 and 19 respectively.

In previous years, the per day August casualty figure was 19 (2014), 22 (2015), 19.5 (2016) and 13 (till August 10 in 2017). But 23 on a single day on the intervening night of August 10-11 might have upset the average this year.

Increased footfalls with 6,000 patients turning up on a day from the entire Purvanchal, Bihar and bordering Nepal districts especially in the monsoon months of July, August and September sometimes makes the system run out of resources resulting in high casualty figure. While 641 children died in August last year and 491 in 2015, a total of 124 deaths were reported in the hospital till August 8, 2017.

The outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis in epidemic proportions has been plaguing Gorakhpur division since 1978.

Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome are believed to have claimed over 50,000 lives in eastern UP.

Meanwhile, the national Human Rights Commission, taking suo motu cognizance of the tragedy, issued a notice to the UP government seeking a detailed report on the deaths of the children.

The NHRC has sought the government’s response within four weeks on the action taken against the accused and the steps taken for relief and rehab of the affected families.


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