- Over 60 newborns had died in UP hospital within a week last year
- State government had been severely criticised for the incident
- Chief Minister says incident was caused by hospital's "internal politics"
Nearly a year after the deaths of more than 60 newborns at a hospital in his home turf in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said the incident may have been blown out of proportion due to the institute's "internal politics". Mr Adityanath also said that he had to act after news channels and the media had "made it an issue".
"Last year when I heard of the news, I thought a similar thing had happened. But when I saw that all news channels and media had made it an issue, I sent DG (Director General - Health) to Gorakhpur and a sought a report. I also sent my health minister and the minister for medical education and told them to submit a report," Mr Adityanath said in Lucknow while launching a campaign for the state nutrition mission.
Mr Adityanath, who has represented Gorakhpur in Lok Sabha five times, said as controversy flared, he decided to visit the BRD Medical College the very next day.
"I asked people there what actually the matter was, and was told there was nothing as such...And if the deaths were due to the lack of oxygen, then children put on the ventilators would have been the first to die. I said there must definitely be something. From where were the figures come from? Then it emerged it was internal politics," the UP chief minister said.
Mr Adityanath said after the incident, the doctors at the medical college were not keen on seeing patients worrying that it may become an issue.
"We had to counsel them that you do your job and not worry about anything else," he said. "If your conscience is clean, then you should not bother, we told the doctors," Mr Adityanath said.
More than 60 children, mostly infants, had died at the government hospital within a week in August 2017 allegedly because it ran out of oxygen cylinders since it did not pay the vendor. The state government denied that shortage of oxygen led to the deaths.
In its report submitted in the same month, a committee under the then UP chief secretary Rajiv Kumar probing the tragedy had recommended criminal action against the then principal of the BRD Medical College Dr Rajiv Mishra and other officials at the hospital.