Infanticide in UP

Something is definitely rotten in Yogiland, that is, Uttar Pradesh. After the death of about 70 children at the Baba Raghav Das Hospital at Gorakhpur earlier this month, 61 more children died in the same hospital between August 27 and 29. The first time the cause of the deaths was attributed to want of oxygen cylinders and en endless blame game began as to who was responsible for the oxygen shortage.  Then a lame excuse was given that oxygen was given the children but it was industrial oxygen that caused the deaths. Again, there was no explanation as to why industrial oxygen was used. This time no explanation has come from the hospital authorities or the State Government. Perhaps they are racking their brains to invent a convincing excuse.
The first deaths caused a furore not only in UP but all over the country. Some doctors were suspended. An inquiry was ordered. The inquiry report has not yet come – at least it has not been made public. Now the second wholesale death of children has taken place at the same hospital. It would seem that despite the earlier deaths no steps were taken to prevent deaths of so many children within days. The first thing that should be done is to empty the hospital of all in-patients and undertake a thorough disinfection of the entire hospital and its surroundings. Or else, more such wholesale deaths of children are likely to follow. The hospital and government authorities should realize that relations of patients and the people of the entire State are not interested in hearing explanations and excuses. They want such deaths to stop once for all.
The former principal of the government-run hospital and his wife have been taken into custody and they are being interrogated by the police. Though the principal had resigned in the wake of the first deaths owning moral responsibility that does not absolve him of responsibility for what had happened. In such cases there is a temptation to dig out old statistics about how many children had died in how many months and years during the time of the previous governments with a view to convincing the public that such incidents have happened in the past also. This would be a futile exercise. Patients go to hospital to be treated and cured, not to die en masse due to medical neglect and faulty management. The deaths of so many babies and children are indeed tragic.

Thursday, 31 August, 2017