The Indian Medical Association (IMA) team that went to look into the Gorakhpur deaths in their report noted that oxygen supply was interrupted at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital for a short time on the night of August 10 and that the hospital’s liquid oxygen supplier had not been paid his dues for the last five-six months.
No alert was issued by the BRD Hospital administration on the shortage of oxygen, noted the report, adding the doctors should have been alerted seven days ahead.
Dogs and rats in wards
The report also notes that the cleanliness of hospital and ward was unsatisfactory, with the presence of dogs and rats. “The hospital was handling these cases and other critically ill patients much more than its capacity and there is no facility in Gorakhpur and nearby districts to manage encephalitis. There is also a lack of staff — paediatricians, nurses and other paramedical staff — in the primary health care centres,” said the report.
According to the IMA, although there is no evidence of medical clinical negligence against Dr. Rajiv Mishra and Dr. Kafeel Khan, prima facie it appears that a case of administrative negligence against them cannot be ruled out. Hence, administrative inquiry and action may be taken against them.
The IMA had constituted an inquiry committee comprising of Professor K.P. Kushwaha, former Principal and Head, Department of Paediatrics, BRD Hospital, Dr. Ashok Agarwal, national vice-president of IMA, and Dr. B.B. Gupta, President, IMA-Gorakhpur branch.
“People there were hesitant to speak. The scope of the committee was to only examine the working of the doctors as other issues such as lack of oxygen, inadequate staff and any structural deficiency were being investigated by the State government,” said Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, national president, IMA.
“There should be a State policy to airlift such critically ill patients to the nearby best facilities. All patients denied treatment at government hospitals should be reimbursed for the cost of treatment in the private sector. Hospitals should have back-up of one week’s supply of all essential drugs and oxygen, and all payments for health care services should be made either in advance or on time,’’ noted the report.