Two years after he was suspended and jailed following the deaths of infants due to alleged lack of oxygen supply at the state-run BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, a government-appointed inquiry has absolved doctor Kafeel Khan of the charges against him.
There was no evidence of medical negligence against Dr. Khan, the report found, while stating that the doctor was not involved in the process of supply, tender, maintenance, payment or order of oxygen.
Dr. Khan was posted as a paediatrician at the hospital when, in August 2017, several infants died over 48-hours due to alleged shortage of oxygen over non-payment of dues to the supplier.
“I always knew I have not done anything wrong. On that fateful day, I did what I could do best, as a doctor, father and a common Indian,” Dr. Khan told The Hindu , feeling vindicated.
“But for my efforts to save the lives of children, I was thrown behind bars, vilified by the media, my family was put through immense harrassment and I was suspended from my job,” Dr. Khan, who continues to remain suspended from his employment, added.
Dr. Khan said he believed the real culprits of the “completely man-made tragedy” at BRD hospital “are those who received letters of dues from oxygen suppliers, but did not make the payment.”
“I demand that their actions should be thoroughly investigated. I wish the whole incident should be investigated by CBI,” he further said.
The probe was conducted by Himanshu Kumar, who was posted as Principal Secretary (Stamp and Registration). The report, dated April 18 2019, was made public now by Dr. Khan after he was asked to submit his final reply after checking its findings.
The 15-page report does not hold Dr. Khan guilty of “medical negligence” and says that he had made all efforts to control the situation when the hospital was dealing with oxygen shortage for 54 hours between August 10 and 11, 2017.
The report however, does accuse Dr. Khan of being involved in private practice till August 2016.
It clarifies that Dr. Khan had informed his seniors of the oxygen shortage, providing the inquiry officer with call details of the same and also presenting proof of providing seven oxygen cylinders in his personal capacity, on the night of the tragedy.
The probe committee was set up on August 22, 2017 by Yogi Adityanath, who had become the Chief Minister of the State barely five months prior to the tragedy.
(With additional inputs from IANS)