It was nothing short of a horror at the Gorakhpur BRD Medical college where 30 children lost their lives. The allegation was that a private contractor stopped supplying oxygen cylinders over a payment dispute.
On Friday, the hospital ran out of oxygen even as 90 jumbo cylinders were pressed into service to maintain the supply. There was complete chaos at the hospital. Out of the 73 patients in the 100 bed encephalitis ward, 54 were on ventilator when the oxygen supply was disrupted at 7.30 am.
As many as 50 more oxygen cylinders were brought in around 3.30 am, which also ran dry by 7.30 am.
The panic stricken people ran for help. The hospital staff tried to maintain supply of oxygen through artificial respiration using AMBU (artificial manual breathing unit) bags. This however was not sufficient as patients began to collage due to inadequate supply.
The doctors said that they pleaded with the firm for restoration of services as one child after another collapsed. The management initiated the process to clear the dues of Rs 22 lakh to the company. The company officials have agreed to send a liquid oxygen tanker and this is expected to reach the hospital either by evening today or on Sunday morning.
In his defence Deepankar Sharma of Pushpa Sales, the firm responsible for supplying oxygen to the hospital, said that he had informed the BRD authorities about the Rs 68,58, 596 dues despite the terms and condition of the agreement with the hospital clearly mentioning that arrears would not be more than Rs 10 lakh.