Another UP hospital tragedy: 49 kids die from lack of oxygen, drugs

Less than a month after 62 children died in Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College and Hospital tragedy, a similar shocker has been reported from the Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

As many as 49 children have died in between 20 July and 21 August at the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) ward of the Ram Manohar Lohia Rajkiya Chikitsalaya in Farrukhabad district. The deaths have been attributed to laxity by the hospital staff combined with a lack of medicines and shortage of oxygen supply.

The matter came to light after district magistrate of Farrukhabad Ravindra Kumar ordered an investigation on 30 August after he visited the hospital met the parents of the victims. Before his visit to the hospital, the local media had already reported that at least one infant was dying in the SNCU ward in every 14 hour.

On DM's order, the investigation was conducted by a team of three officers led by city magistrate Jainendra Kumar Jain.

A First Information Report has been lodged against the chief medical officer (CMO), chief medical superintendent (CMS) and the doctors at the hospital, said Farrukhabad S P Dayanand Mishra. He added that further action would be taken as the investigation proceeds.

Daya Nand Misra, Superintendent of Police, Farrukhabad, said, "On Sunday evening, based on the written complaint filed by city magistrate in Nagar Kotwali police station regarding the deaths of children, we have lodged an FIR against chief medical officer Uma Kant Pandey, chief medical superintendent B P Pushkar and a few doctors of RML Hospital.

''The accused officers have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections176 (Omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder)."

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath's office took note of the matter after some local channels reported the deaths and directed DM Kumar to conduct a probe.

Following the the FIR, Farrukhabad DM Ravindra Kumar sacked the CMO and CMS at the hospital. Kumar said that the probe confirmed deaths due to shortage of oxygen. It has now been learnt that the district magistrate has also been removed.

While 19 babies are believed to have died at the time of delivery, 30 others lost their lives while undergoing treatment in the newborn care unit.

The district administration submitted a report following a preliminary investigation into the matter.

The district administration had appointed a committee consisting of city magistrate Jayendra Kumar Jain, sub-divisional magistrate Ajit Kumar Singh and the tehsildar to investigate the matter.

According to reports, information was sought from the CMO and CMS regarding the number of deaths of children between 23 May and 14 August in the SNCU Ward, but they failed to provide the data. Later when the DM intervened, doctors claimed the children had died due to 'perinatal asphyxia'.

According to city magistrate Jainendra Kumar Jain's complaint of which The Times of India obtained a copy, the parents of the victims have claimed that, RML hospital doctors had removed the oxygen supply and didn't even gave medicine to children.

The UP government in a press release claimed that out of 49 deaths, 19 infants were 'stillborn'.

Doctors have gone on strike at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital after the FIR was registered.