"Bhagwan ne mujhe 8 saal baad bachhey diye wo bhi judwa, ek ladka aur ek ladki. maine apna khoon tak diya unhe bachane ke liye lekin doctor bacha nahi paye. Oxygen ki kami se wo mar gaye. Meri duniya khatam ho gayi” (I was blessed with children after eight years...they were twins, a baby boy and a girl. I gave my blood to save them! They died from the lack of oxygen. Now I am left with nothing. My life, my world is finished), Barmhedeo Yadav, who lost his kids on 10 August last year at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Gorakhpur, told Newsclick.
With shaking voice, he said that he didn't know light fever will kill his kids. "I went to the BRD medical college on 2nd August 2017 with my son Rakesh. My son was down with fever and daughter was perfectly fine but the doctors asked me to admit my daughter Soni as well as she was underweight. I saw how doctors were taking 2-3 syringe blood everyday and my kids got weak. Soon after that I gave my one unit of blood, yet could not save my kids."
Yadav further said with choking voice that he did not want to remember that dark day when he witnessed chaos at the medical college when parents were running here and there carrying their dead children. “I noticed the danger mark of oxygen which continuously blinking to red point but no one informed the administration. It was horrible, can not explain anymore.”
In one year, Yadav met the chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya several times for the help, but either they just smiled or said ‘will see what can be done’. He also gave interviews to many national and international media houses but nothing had an impact, as he yet has not received a single penny of compensation.
Another person from Khajani, twenty kilometres from Gorakhpur named Jitendra Chaudhari who lost his son on 10th August 2017 and six days later lost his wife too, said, "My son was born on 10 August last year by operation later he was kept in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and was declared dead. Six days later due to lack of blood, my wife also died in front of my eyes. I was shocked to see how junior doctors who had themselves come to learn, were treating these encephalitis children. Most of the staff and doctors used to play carrom board and games on mobile phones. How they will save anyone's life?"
When asked how his life has changed in past one year, Chaudhari started crying remembering his son and wife. He said, "I have seen how at least 50-60 people were crying for their children on 10th August. We have been forced to take our dead kids outside hospital premises. It was horrible."
When Newsclick approached a deceased family who hails from Siddharthnagar named Kishan, he denied to talk about the issue saying he did not want repeat the same thing continuously. "I forgot the day when i lost my two year son Luv Kush. I did not get any compensation from the government. Last year when I lost Luv, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) asked me to open an account in any bank and come along with all necessary documents including Aadhar card but it was a joke because are silent till now."
Kishan mocking the India judiciary system said, "See, all of the accused coming out from the jail, and people like us have nothing to say. What kind of law do we have? I am hopeless and helpless now."
Ramesh who lost his 12 year old daughter Vandana said that “it is worthless to discuss it now as there is no value of poor people’s lives. I went to the Lucknow more than five times to meet the chief minister regarding the issue but what is the result, whole world knows” and he disconnected the call crying.
Nine persons, including, doctors from BRD medical college and the owner and proprietor of Lucknow-based company Pushpa Sales Private Limited who earlier used to sell liquid oxygen gas to the medical college, were arrested and sent to jail in connection to the case. Now, four out of nine are out of jail on bail.
A letter addressed to the hospital chief written by the Pushpa Sales, suggested that an outstanding payment of Rs 63,65,702 was the reason behind the disruption of the oxygen supply. The district administration did not seem to have reacted to the brewing crisis where 63 infants died.
After a year of the heartbreaking incident, the medical college has not changed a bit. They refuse to learn from their past. The death of children still continues because there is no added facility and no good doctors. Recently Newsclick reported how the medical college has not produced the health bulletin since August 13, 2017.
Also Read: No Health Bulletin, Data Available from BRD Medical College for a Year
Earlier, BRD administration used to provide data regarding the number of patients visiting, number of encephalitis patients and their medical status etc. to the chief medical officer (CMO) and additional director (health and family welfare). However, it has been a year since the data was made available last time.
Over 60 children died that fatal night because of the apathy of the government. Inquiries after inquiries were set up and blame game began, several doctors and staff of BRD were put behind the bars but months after legal battle, they walked out of jail. The question still remain who is the real culprit.