Outrage mounts over dozens of infant deaths at India hospital

Outrage mounts over dozens of infant deaths at India hospital

Gorakhpur : A key ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing calls for his resignation after at least 64 children died at a government hospital in northern India that suffered oxygen shortages.

Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state where the deaths occurred, visited the hospital Sunday as angry relatives rushed to the scene demanding answers.

The deaths occurred over six days, with Indian media reporting that 30 children died Thursday and Friday because of a lack of oxygen on the children's wards.

Suppliers' bills had allegedly not been paid, leading to a shortage that saw panicked families using artificial manual breathing bags to help their loved ones.

Local officials have conceded there was a disruption to the oxygen supply at the hospital in Gorakhpur, but insist the deaths were caused by encephalitis and other illnesses, not a lack of available oxygen.

"We are confident that none of the lives were lost because of this episode," a senior government health official in Gorakhpur told AFP on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

But victims' families have disputed this, describing the panic and chaos as patients began struggling from a sudden lack of oxygen.

"As soon as we reached the hospital, we were handed a small pump and told to keep pumping. I did so for over three-and-a-half hours," one victim's father, Shailendra Gupta, was quoted by Sunday's Indian Express as saying.

"The next day, we were informed that he was dead."




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