At least 30 children, most of them newborns. died Thursday night and into Friday at a public hospital in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after its supply of liquid oxygen was disrupted over an unpaid bill. In a statement, the hospital said "the pressure of the liquid oxygen supply became low" and that reserve cylinders were arranged.
The hospital owed $89,750 to a medical supply company called Pushpa Sales Pvt. Ltd. based in Lucknow. Pushpa discontinued the oxygen supply Aug. 4. However, the state’s health minister and hospital officials have denied charges that the deaths were caused by the oxygen bill dispute. In the last 5 days already, 60 children have lost their lives due to a number of reasons among which is the infections arising out of encephalitis.
Hospital in Uttar Pradesh
Many of the deaths happened at the intensive care unit of the hospital. The region is one the poorest in India and records hundreds of deaths of children due to diseases. The deaths provoked widespread outrage and condemnation across the political spectrum and in social media. “30 kids died in hospital without oxygen. This is not a tragedy. It’s a massacre,” Indian Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, a child advocate, said in a tweet. The government suspended the medical college principal Saturday. State officials said an investigation has been launched. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office said on Twitter that he was constantly monitoring the situation.