GORAKHPUR: Sri Kishan Gupta rushed his baby, all of four days old, to Gorakhpur's biggest hospital when he fell ill on Thursday morning. Doctors admitted the baby to the intensive care unit for newborns but told the father there were no spare ventilators that his son needed.
- 63 children have died in five days at hospital in UP's Gorakhpur
- Sri Kishan Gupta's son was admitted on Thursday morning
- Says son died after hospital did not provide a ventilator
"For five four-hours, I used a manual resuscitator," the father said, convinced that the doctors did not offer a ventilator because of the oxygen shortage.
His baby, too young to have a name, did not survive.
The infant was among the 30 children including infants to have died between Thursday and Friday at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College that has also hit the headlines for an acute shortage of liquid oxygen.
The deaths have drawn sharp reactions from not just the opposition but prominent child rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi as well. "This is not a tragedy. It's a massacre. Is this what 70 years of freedom means for our children?" he tweeted, seeking Chief Minister Adityanath's "decisive intervention".
As pressure mounted on the government, Chief Minister Adityanath in Lucknow dispatched health minister Siddharth Nath Singh and medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon to Gorakhpur, the Lok Sabha constituency that Yogi Adityanath has represented in Lok Sabha for nearly two decades.
It is an intervention that has come too late for Sri Kishan Gupta. Sitting outside his home 25 km from the hospital, the father recalls the chaotic scenes that he saw in the intensive care unit, and other children losing their lives as well.
"It is not a medical college, it is more like a slaughter house," Sri Kishan Gupta told NDTV, complaining that hospital staffers did not even appear to be making sincere efforts to save the children anyways. "I saw two children (bodies) being taken out," he said.
According to hospital records, nine children had died in a span of six hours on Thursday evening and 14 had already died in the first half of the day.
The state government has insisted that it was just a coincidence that a spike in deaths had taken place on the same day that the oxygen was running low on oxygen cylinders.