Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy: Doctor Hailed as Hero Now Finds Himself Sacked

Dr Kafeel Ahmad, the head of the pediatrics department and the encephalitis ward at BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur, was sacked from his post of nodal officer on Sunday, two days after he saved the lives of as many kids as possible with his quick thinking and by using his own money.

Dr Bhupendra Sharma has been appointed as new nodal officer for the department of pediatrics at Baba Raghav Das Medical College, ANI reported. The government, however, has not yet given any reasons for the sacking of Ahmad.

Ahmad is the second person from the administration to face action for the death of 63 kids in the last five days, allegedly due to the lack of oxygen. The government had on Saturday suspended the principal of the BRD medical college, Dr Rajeev Mishra. Mishra, however, claimed he had already resigned on moral grounds. Dr PK Singh, principal of Rajkiya Medical College in Ambedkar Nagar, has been given additional charge of BRD Medical College.

If not for Ahmad, the death toll at the hospital would have been much higher. On the intervening night of August 10 and 11, when all hell broke loose in ward number 100 of the Gorakhpur hospital due to alleged oxygen shortage, Ahmad had taken it upon himself to save as many children as he could.

At 2am on that fateful night, he received a call from the staff of the encephalitis ward, that the oxygen supply will run dry within an hour. Knowing that continuous oxygen supply is essential for encephalitis patients, Ahmad immediately rushed to a friend’s nursing home and borrowed three jumbo oxygen cylinders.

He loaded them in his private vehicle and reached the BRD hospital by 3am. However, these new cylinders lasted only 20-30 minutes. He took charge and roped in all junior doctors to continue pumping oxygen with Ambu bags (small pumps used manually to aid breathing).While repeated calls to the hospital’s oxygen supplier — who has alleged non-payment of bills — failed to restore supply, the paediatrician again went out to look for more oxygen cylinders.

Later, he managed to gather 12 more cylinders and ferried them to the hospital in his car. When finally a supplier agreed to provide oxygen if paid in cash, he sent a staff member to withdraw Rs 10,000 from his bank account to pay them. Meanwhile, junior doctors and Ahmad’s team continued to help the dying children with Ambu bags.

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