Real Culprits of Tragedy at Gorakhpur Hospital Must be Booked and Brought to Justice: Dr Kafeel

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Dr Kafeel Khan Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital.

Dr Kafeel Khan wants his reinstatement at BRD College and also demanded public apology from the UP government to parents who lost their children on that fateful night

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — After being cleared of all charges by the internal inquiry committee, the suspended doctor of Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital, Dr Kafeel Khan wants his reinstatement and demanded public apology from the UP government to the parents who lost their children in the hospital due to scarcity of oxygen. He also wants that real culprits of this tragedy should be put behind bars.

Speaking with Caravan Daily in New Delhi, Dr Khan said he was vindicated by the inquiry report. However, he is afraid that he might be implicated in other fabricated cases.

In August 2017 when about 70 children died in the BRD Medical College and Hospital due to lack of oxygen, Dr Khan tried to save the children with his personal efforts but he was made a ‘scapegoat’. He was first suspended on charges of “corruption, medical negligence and dereliction” of duty. He was also put behind bars for nine months till the Allahabad High Court granted him bail.

On being asked whether he was targeted because of his religious identity or personal vendetta?  Dr Khan said he was made a “scapegoat to save the then UP’s health minister.”

“I was the junior most doctor in the paediatric ward of the BRD Hospital as it was my first year of the posting, therefore, I don’t think that I was targeted because of my religious identity but to save the real culprits behind the tragedy.”

Despite being a junior doctor, I had tried my best to source oxygen cylinders from my own pocket and bring them to the hospital to save the children, he added.

But what reward I got for this sacrifice you all know. I was sent to jail  and a tag of ‘murderer’ doctor followed for the last two years while I and my family had suffered a lot, he said with tears in his eyes.

On the night of August 10, 2017, oxygen supply ran out in the hospital due to nonpayment of Rs 55 lakh to the supplier company and several children and infants died that night as a result.

Dr Khan was initially hailed as a hero, but things soon turned against him and he was suspended by the hospital administration. He was held responsible for some of the things that went wrong on that night.

In its 15-page report, the inquiry committee has absolved Dr Khan from all charges leveled against him stating that “he was not the nodal officer of the encephalitis ward and was not responsible for the maintenance, tender or payment of the liquid oxygen at the hospital.”

When asked how you feel after being exonerated by the internal committee, Dr Khan quipped “I had been constantly maintaining all along that I have done no wrong and I am innocent and that has now been proved by the inquiry report”.

 I am happy but who will return my two precious years and time I had spent in jail for no crime, and sufferings of my family”, he asked.

When asked do you want compensation from the government? Dr Khan said “they (govt) must end my suspension and reinstate on the job and they also must apologies to those parents who lost their children because of negligence of the concerned authorities”.

“The entire tragedy was “man-made” and that there should be a real inquiry along with compensation for the families who lost their children” he added.

Dr Khan also demanded that the real culprits should be brought to book as they are roaming freely and it would be a small tribute to those children who died due to their negligence and apathy.

On why the Gorakhpur region is prone to the encephalitis as every year hundreds of cases are reported, Dr Khan said, 7 Ps are reasonable for this. Elaborating on this, he said poverty, population, lack of pure drinking water, poor sanitation, poor health (malnutrition), poor personal hygiene and poor vaccination.

Stressing need of providing health care to needy section of the society, Dr Kafeel Khan said after his release from the jail on bail he held 70 free medical camps and checkups across the country.

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