Yogi govt revokes suspension of three doctors in Oxygen case; but probe still on against Dr Kafeel
Stealthily, Yogi Govt has reinstated three doctors who were suspended following infamous oxygen scarcity case in BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur leading to death of over 60 children in August 2017
Stealthily, the Yogi Government has reinstated three doctors who were suspended following the infamous oxygen scarcity case in BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur leading to the death of over 60 children, 23 of them in one night in August 2017. Another doctor, Dr Kafeel Khan, who too was suspended but was initially absolved of all the charges in departmental enquiry, is in jail and is booked under NSA for hate speech.
On March 4, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel signed the government recommendation reinstating former Principal of BRD Medical College Dr Rajiv Mishra, anaesthetist, Dr Satish Kumar and Dr Purnima Shukla, wife of Dr Rajiv Shukla. Dr Purnima has retired and all her retirement benefits have been cleared after the Governor’s proclamation.
Dr Kafeel Khan who is a pediatrician and was working at BRD Medical College at that time was suspended along with these doctors is still facing an enquiry in this case. At present, he is incarcerated in Mathura jail and facing NSA charges.
Interestingly, in August 2019, Dr Khan was absolved of the charges of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty on the day when children died due to the shortage of oxygen. Investigating officer Himanshu Kumar, Principal Secretary (Stamps & Registration Department) had submitted the probe report into the deaths to the Medical Education Department on April 18, 2019. But neither did the Uttar Pradesh government take any action on it, nor did it make the report public. It came to light only in September.
The 15-page report does not hold Khan guilty of "medical negligence" and says that he had made all efforts to control the situation when the hospital was dealing with oxygen shortage for 54 hours between August 10 and 11, 2017.
The report however, does accuse Khan of being involved in private practice till August 2016.
It clarifies that Khan had informed his seniors of the oxygen shortage, providing the inquiry officer with call details of the same and also presenting proof of providing seven oxygen cylinders in his personal capacity, on the night of the tragedy.
Of the four charges, the doctor was found guilty of indulging in private practice and being attached to a private nursing home in Gorakhpur till April 2017.
Khan had then blamed the state government for keeping him in the dark about being absolved of the allegations made against him for around five months.
A few days after Dr Khan was absolved of the charges of medical negligence, the Yogi Adityanath government ordered a fresh probe into allegations of indiscipline, corruption and gross negligence while on duty against him.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking revocation of an order suspending Uttar Pradesh-based paediatrician Dr Khan. Stating that Dr Khan and his family have been struggling to survive since he was suspended, the doctors' body also sought withdrawal of all pending legal cases against him and demanded that the BRD Oxygen tragedy be investigated by central agencies.
The death of children due to oxygen shortage in August 2017 had become a major issue for the Yogi Adityanath government, which had been sworn in barely five months prior to the tragedy. The state government suspended Khan blaming him squarely for the tragedy.
An official told this reporter that Dr Kafeel’s suspension is not revoked because an enquiry is still pending against him. “Moreover, he is facing NSA charges on hate speech case. So, as per government rules, the suspension continues,” he said.