30 Children Die After Hospital Falls Past Due On Oxygen Bill

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

Nearly 30 children died from a lack of liquid oxygen after a northern Indian hospital did not pay its bill, The Washington Post reports.

The bulk of the dead children appear to have been patients in the neonatal ward of the hospital, indicating they were newborn infants. The hospital reportedly owed approximately $90,000 USD to a medical supply company in a different Indian state which attempted to obtain its payment over a period of nearly six months.

The hospital reportedly knew its supply of liquid oxygen was dwindling to critically low levels Thursday after its supply officers alerted the chief medical officer. No efforts to quell the coming crisis appear to have been made, and several children clung to life for hours before dying.

Officials in charge of administering the area deny that lack of oxygen is the reason for the deaths. “The deaths of children were very unfortunate and government will set up an inquiry committee to ascertain if any lapse have been there and if anyone is found guilty he will be made accountable,” an Indian health official told Indian media.

The official insinuated that the deaths may not have been unusual, given that 60 children died at the hospital from disease during a similar period.

“The idea is devastating — that she had to suffer while trying to breathe,” the father of a 5-year-old girl who died told WaPo. “We saw our baby struggling to breathe and we couldn’t do anything,” another parent told the Associated Press.

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