Other States

Gorakhpur deaths: CM Adityanath orders criminal action against doctors, hospital staff, gas firm

Preventive measures: A review meeting of the National Health Mission (NHM) was held days after the Gorakhpur deaths. File picture   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath late on Wednesday directed criminal action against the former principal of Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, Rajeev Mishra, and the private agency supplying it liquid oxygen, Pushpa Sales, in connection with the death of 30 children on August 10 and 11.

Criminal action would be also taken against Dr. Satish, oxygen supply in charge and HoD of the anaesthesia ward, and Dr. Kafeel Khan, in charge of nodal 100-bed AES ward in the hospital where the children died, allegedly due to disruption of oxygen supply.

The government had denied that the deaths were caused by disruption of oxygen supply.

An FIR is expected to be filed against the indicted doctors, hospital staff and oxygen supplying firm.

Panel recommensations

Mr. Adityanath issued the directions after considering the recommendations of the four-member committee under Chief Secretary Rajeev Kumar. It submitted a report to him on August 20.

Though the contents of the report were not made public, the Chief Minister’s office issued an action-taken note on the report.

According to a government statement, the probe committee has recommended criminal action against Mr. Mishra, Dr. Kafeel and Pushpa Sales Private Limited.

The government note, however, remains silent on the specific reasons for calling the criminal action and has no mention of the deaths of the children, merely calling it the “Gorakhpur incident”. It also does not clarify if the deaths were caused due to disruption of oxygen supply or other reasons.

Disciplinary action

The committee has also recommended action against Mr. Mishra's wife Dr. Poornima Shukla, chief pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal and hospital accountants under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A homeopathic medical officer, Ms. Shukla has been accused of interference in the hospital adminstration and of seeking commission in purchase of surgical equipment.

Disciplinary action would be further taken against Dr. Khan, Mr. Jaiswal, Mr. Mishra and other staff for irresponsible behaviour, dereliction of duty and working against the staff behavioural rules.

Dr. Khan, who was suspended on charges of private practice, will face further criminal action after the probe found that he hid facts in his affidavit filed to the Chief Medical Officer of Gorakhpur and violated the rules of the Indian Medical Council.

Mr. Adityanath has ordered that a special audit be conducted by the CAG into the supply of medicines and chemicals in the hospital in the last three years.

He has directed that strict action be taken immediately against the guilty officials and staff and that they “not be spared at any cost,” the government said.

The probe committee was asked to report the background and sequence of events, the cause of the deaths, responsibility and accountability for the deaths, suggest punitive measures against the guilty and recommendations to be made so that such deaths do not happen in future.

Alok Kumar, secretary, medical and health; Mukesh Mittal, secretary, Finance department; and Dr. Hem Chandra, medical superintendent of SGPGI, were the other members of the probe team.

Mr. Adityanath has directed officials to ensure there was no interruption in supply of medicine, chemicals and other essential items in medical colleges and hospitals in the State.

He has told officials to take necessary action on the short-term, mid-term and long-term recommendations made by the committee to prevent such incidents in future and to improve the state of medical colleges in the State.

The report has made several recommendations. As part of its suggestions, the committee has said that to meet the shortage of doctors and specialist doctors in state medical colleges, provision be made for recruitment on basis of campus interviews within six months.

The committee has said that under the Japanese Encephalitis programme of the Medical and Health directorate it should be ensured that those clearing the Diploma of Child Health be posted in the paediatric intensive care unit wards.

Meanwhile, the government also acted against principal secretary of the medical education department Anita Bhatnagar, transferring her to DG training. Rajnish Dube has been given additional charge of her department.

In an earlier probe report, the District Magistrate of Gorakhpur, Rajeev Rautela, blamed hospital staff and adminstration for the lapse in oxygen supply while not commenting on the cause of deaths.

He had also hinted at financial irregularities in the medical college while holding Pushpa Sales responsible for cutting the supply of crucial liquid oxygen.

Pushpa Sales had, however, dismissed the claims of Mr. Rautela, saying it had proof to show that it did not cut supply of liquid oxygen despite pending payment amounting to nearly ₹70 lakh.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 3, 2021 8:21:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gorakhpur-deaths-adityanath-orders-criminal-action-against-hospital-gas-firm/article19550791.ece

Next Story