Amid the growing outrage over the death of nearly 70 children at Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College's Hospital due to encephalitis and alleged disruption of liquid oxygen supply, Dr Kafeel Khan has been removed as the nodal officer for the Department of Pediatrics of the hospital.
Dr Bhupendra Sharma will now take over as the nodal officer of pediatric department, while Dr P K Singh, principal of Rajkiya Medical College, Ambedkar Nagar, has been given additional charge of BRD Medical College.
In several media reports since Saturday, Dr Khan has been lauded for 'saving the lives of many children while the hospital was running out of oxygen supply'.
A report in DNA (external link) said Dr Khan 'the head of the encephalitis ward and a paediatrician, managed to save many lives and the parents in the hospital had said that had it not been for Khan's work, the number of deaths in the past 48 hours would be more...'
The report says that Dr Khan not only 'borrowed' oxygen cylinders from his friends' nursing homes to save the lives of children but also gave 'his ATM card to withdraw Rs 10,000 to a staff' when he came to know that a local supplier was ready to provide oxygen cylinders.
There has been no reason cited for the removal of Dr Khan.
The decision came soon after the visit of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Health Minister J P Nadda to the Gorakhpur hospital.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association on Sunday said that the suspension of BRD Medical College' principal Rajiv Mishra was wrong because the tragedy was an administrative failure and everyone should be held accountable.
"The suspension of only the principal is completely wrong. It's an administrative failure. Everyone should be held accountable. If you're suspending him, then suspend the local admin too and ban the company," IMA president K K Aggarwal told ANI.
He further said that the IMA has passed three resolutions over the tragic death of children in Gorakhpur's hospital.
"The first resolution is that the community and medical fraternity needs to know the reason, that is, if it is due to disruption of oxygen. Secondly, the suspension of only the principal is outright wrong. Third and last, the practice of delaying payments in the healthcare sector should be prohibited," he added.
The principal of the college was earlier suspended from his duties.
The principal, however, later said that he resigned even as he owned up to the responsibility of the whole episode.
Contrary to this, Adityanath blamed him for the laxity in performing his duty.
"The supplier wrote a letter to the Principal on August 1 which was sent to the DG Medical Education on August 4 and the money was released on August 5. The money was released on proper time. When the money released by the Medical Education administration has reached there, is it the mistake of the Minister or the Principal? It was the careless behaviour of Principal towards his duty," the chief minister said.
With inputs from Agencies.
IMAGE: Children at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur on Saturday. Photograph: PTI Photo