Dr R K Mishra, principal of the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, for delaying payment to the oxygen supplier, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday announced his suspension.
Health Minister Sidhartha Nath Singh said the government had released funds on August 5, but Mishra cleared the payment on August 11, after the deaths of at least 60 children over five days this month.
“Owing to laxity, the principal of BRD Medical College has been suspended with immediate effect,” he said.
He said the principal got the money in his account on August 7, but failed to explain why he did not release it immediately.
Singh also said the hospital administration did not inform Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about the pending payment.
“On August 10, at around 7:30 pm, supply of liquid oxygen became low… but the demand was met by oxygen cylinders. This system worked only till 11:30 pm… Supply of oxygen cylinders was not sufficient till 1:30 am on August 11, after which alternate arrangements were made,” said Singh.
He said none of the deaths occurred during this time.
“The Chief Minister visited BRD on July 9 and held discussions with the staff. He made another visit on August 9. However, the critical issue of oxygen supply was never placed before him. This is a 950-bed hospital which gets patients from Gorakhpur and its adjoining areas, as well as from Nepal,” said Singh.
Singh suggested that some of the children who died were suffering from encephalitis, one had liver failure.
He said 587 children died at the hospital in 2016, 668 in 2015, and 567 in 2014.