Oxygen supply at Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital was disrupted on the night of August 10, which led to the death of several children, a fact-finding team of the Indian Medical Association has confirmed, according to the Hindustan Times. A three-member IMA team, released their report after visiting the institute on Thursday.

The report compiled by the IMA’s Dr KP Kushwaha, Dr Ashok Agarwal and Dr BB Gupta claimed that the supplier, Pushpa Sales, had held back oxygen supply because the hospital had not cleared dues. The team blamed the institute administration for the crisis and also charged the former principal of the medical college, Rajeev Mishra, and the head of the encephalitis ward, Khafeel Khan, with negligence.

The IMA panel also felt the Uttar Pradesh administration had maligned several senior doctors at the BRD Medical College and Hospital by blaming them for the deaths, reported The Telegraph.

When the newspaper asked for Kushwaha’s reaction on the same, he said “Yes, the doctors are indeed being maligned.”

BB Gupta said he was shocked at the way District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela had blamed the doctors when the incident came to light.

Overcrowding and lack of hygiene

The IMA team also said that the wards were overcrowded and the hospital administration had not ensured proper sanitation and hygiene among patients. Gorakhpur was just one of 17 districts in the region that lacked proper arrangements to treat encephalitis patients, the report said, adding that district hospitals and community health centres in these areas lacked pediatricians and resources.

IMA report back Gorakhpur district administration’s inquiry

The IMA report comes on the heels of a report by the Gorakhpur district administration, which had directly contradicted the Uttar Pradesh government’s claims that a shortage of oxygen supply did not kill the 63 children at BRD Hospital. The report sent to the state government indicted several doctors and other hospital staff for not doing enough to avert the crisis even when they knew the oxygen supply was low.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to specify what caused the deaths of more than 60 children at the hospital. The state had earlier held that they had died of encephalitis, not lack of liquid oxygen supply at the facility. The next hearing is scheduled for August 29.

On Wednesday, the central government team that visited the facility had also claimed that the deaths of 63 children were not caused by an oxygen supply shortage.