BHU hospital under scanner for deaths of 14 patients
A Centre-UP government investigation team, which was probing the death of about 14 surgery patients on June 6-8 in BHU's Sir Sunder Lal Hospital, has found that industrial grade nitrous oxide was used to anesthetize patients. Whether the administration of nitrous oxide was directly responsible for the deaths is being investigated. What else did the probe reveal? Read on to know more.
In June, 14 patients had died in BHU's Sir Sunder Lal Hospital after they were operated upon. After four patients had died, 23 operation theatres were shut down and an investigation team was constituted. However, hospital's medical superintendent Dr Upadhyaya maintained that same anesthesia-batch was used in 60 other surgeries. The deceased's families didn't allow post-mortem, making it difficult to discern the cause of death.
Dr Upadhyay said, "In primary investigation, it was suspected that the problem was caused by nitrous oxide of a particular batch after which its stock was seized on June 9. After the seizure of the old stock, new stock was procured."
The probe has revealed that nitrous oxide of non-pharmacopoeial grade was being used at the hospital. Nitrous oxide is generally not used alone for surgical anesthesia but is combined with a more potent inhalation gas. However, the UP Food Safety and Drug Administration's probe reportedly revealed that the gas used "doesn't come under the category of allowed drugs."
The report further revealed that Parerhat Industrial Enterprises, an Allahabad-based private firm, owned by Ashok Bajpai, BJP MLA Harshvardhan Bajpai's father, supplied the nitrous oxide but didn't have the license to produce or sell the drug. Harshvardhan, who owns Rs. 1.21cr of the firm's shares, admitted that the firm didn't have a license but denied that it was responsible for the deaths.
In September, AAP, SP and Congress workers organized a march from BHU to PM Modi's Varanasi constituency office demanding a CBI probe into the post-surgical deaths. They alleged that BJP and BHU administration were colluding to mask the corrupt practices of Harshvardhan and university officials.
UP has witnessed other such cases of negligence in the past. In August, 61 children died at Gorakhpur's BRD hospital after oxygen supply was disrupted. In September, 49 children died in Farrukhabad's government hospital within a month allegedly because of lack of oxygen. Considering that a BJP MLA is embroiled in the latest tragedy, the government may face the heat.