A living nightmare has unfolded for doctors at Baba Raghav Das Medical College where 30 children have died since Thursday from lack of oxygen. The children who were in need of liquid oxygen cylinders passed away due to a shortage stemming from unpaid bills to the supplier. The Uttar Pradesh government has said that alternate arrangements were made and no children died due to the lack of oxygen. Although the government's claim is denied by district magistrate Rajeev Rautela who said in a press conference "We have been told that BRD witnessed disturbance in liquid oxygen supply since last night as firm withdrew supply owing to non-payment."
The unnecessary deaths have sparked outrage from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress and they are seeking the resignation of state health minister Siddharth Nath Singh as well as monetary compensation to the families of the deceased. Akhilesh Yadav, the former chief minister, and SP leader said in a tweet "Kins of the deceased were shooed away after handing over dead bodies to them. Post mortem examinations not done on dead bodies. Admission cards were taken out of records. Extremely sad." In another tweet, vice president Rahul Gandhi said, "Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. BJP govt is responsible & should punish the negligent, who caused this tragedy."
The oxygen cylinders were supposed to be delivered by Pushpa Sales, the firm has stated they reminded the hospital authorities of the bill and the contract that stipulates payment is due for goods and services. This is just one in a serious of problems stemming from an underfunded public health system in India where the government has failed to address the shortage of staff, hospitals, and medical supplies.