Saurabh Sharma | Aug 15, 2017 | 4 min read
Gorakhpur: For panic-stricken parents of the children admitted at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Uttar Pradesh, the stream of politicians visiting the hospital on Monday drove them up the wall. The parents alleged that healthcare took a backseat as the hospital staff went about attending to the VIPs.
More than 10 politicians including Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Union health minister JP Nadda and opposition leaders Akhilesh Yadav, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Raj Babbar and Ram Govind Chaudhary visited the hospital on Monday.
Dhananjay Gupta, 30, who lost his only son on Monday noon alleged that his son died because of the negligence of doctors who were busy in attending to the ministers.
"My son came here alive and he was very active but these doctors were busy only in attending to the ministers and arranging snacks for them. My son did not die but these netas and doctors killed him," said the bereaved father.
Gupta's mother Geeta Devi alleged that not a single doctor checked upon her grandson. "They (doctors) visited his bed just to declare him dead," she said.
Responding to BJP national president Amit Shah's statement that this was not the first time an incident like this had happened in a big country like India, she cursed the ruling party's leaders.
"Jekre khud ke poot naahi woh kaa jaane poot khone ka dard! Hamri haaye lage Modi ko," she said. (How'd the childless know the pain of losing them! I curse Modi.)
Ankit Singh Rathore, 22, uncle of three-year-old in-patient Kumar Ajay, said the doctors and the hospital staff would treat them badly whenever they get to know about the arrival of any VIP.
"We are kooda-kachda. The hospital staff comes and ousts us from the waiting area owing to the movement of VIPs. These hospital people do not want to be reprimanded and clean everything just to eyewash the ministers," said Rathore, who got his nephew admitted to the hospital a week ago.
FirstPost had earlier on Monday ran a story on the panic gripped situation at the BRD Medical College.
On the condition of anonymity, a junior resident doctor working at the BRD Medical College told Firstpost they were under a lot of pressure since the media picked up the issue. "One of our seniors has been instructed to keep junior residents ready for a 14-16 hours shift and we have been doing it for the last three-four days. Our seniors are busy entertaining the politicians and they have left everything on juniors," the doctor said.
The doctor added that they missed working with Dr Kafil Khan, the former nodal officer of the Encephalitis ward who was ousted from the role in the wake of the deaths.
For the CM's visit, the Encephalitis ward--which has seen dozens of deaths in the past week--was scrubbed clean with bleaching powder and given new dustbins. Garbage was cleared, trays set in place, tubelights restored and even the door that was hanging on its hinges was set right. When Adityanath visited the hospital on Monday, the rush of mediapersons and his followers resulted in a door in the hospital crashing down and shards of glass injuring those nearby.
The intermittent visits of politicians left not only the doctors and parents, but also the policemen hassled. On August 10, when the news of the deaths first broke, the state had deployed about 2,000 policemen at the hospital, most of them posted outside and near the entrance of the Encephalitis ward.
The tragedy has triggered a slew of Tweets by opposition party members targeting the BJP and Adityanath. Babbar, the president of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, tweeted: "जन्माष्टमी का मौका है। याद करिये कि एक कंस था जिसने बच्चों की हत्या कराई थी। यहां ये यूपी सरकार है जिसकी वजह से हुआ गोरखपुर का 'बाल संघार'" (It is the occasion of Janmashtami. Remember Kansa, who got children killed, and here is the UP government that caused this death of children.)
Former chief minister Akhilesh was regularly tweeting about the incident. One of his Tweets read: "Lack of oxygen causes death of children in Gorakhpur. Government responsible. Strict investigation should be initiated and government should hand over 20 lakhs as compensation."
The state government on Monday formed a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Uttar Pradesh chief secretary, Rajiv Kumar, to look into the incident.
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