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61 die in 72 hours at Gorakhpur hospital

As many as 61 deaths have been reported at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in the last 72 hours, with 19 patients dying in the past 24 hours alone. Of the 19 deaths, four have been caused by Japanese Encephalitis (JE), while the rest have occurred in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NNICU) and of other diseases. On August 27, 17 deaths had been reported, but by August 28 evening around 25 children had dead, seven of them of JE. Ten others died in the NNICU and while eight patients died of other diseases. Officially, there is no explanation of this sudden spike in casualty figure at the hospital, which caters to a dozen neighbouring districts, including Kushinagar, Deoria, Maharajganj, Siddhartha Nagar, Santi Kabir Nagar, Basti and even Bihar and Nepal.From January 1 to August 28, around 1,254 children have died in the encephalitis ward, NNICU and general paediatrics ward of BRD’s Nehru Hospital. Of these, 179 deaths have been caused by JE, while 1,075 patients have died at NNICU and general paediatric ward. A paediatrician once associated with the hospital said while cases of JE deaths have come down, deaths from other causes have shot up, indicating the failure of the health infrastructure — primary health centres, community health centres and district hospitals, which are expected to cater to these cases before they reach the referral hospital. Earlier this month, 30 children had died over 36 hours reportedly due to the disruption of oxygen supply, leading to a national outrage and suspension of principal Dr RK Misra. A probe by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary indicted him and his wife of corruption and the two were arrested by the Special Task Force from Kanpur on Tuesday. Assistant Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (Medical Education) Anita Bhatnagar Jain was summarily removed.A criminal case has been lodged against nine accused, including the oxygen supplier.

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