A government report has exonerated Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan, who was suspended and jailed for his alleged role in the deaths of over 60 children at a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur in 2017, from all major accusations.
Khan was posted as a pediatrician at the BRD Medical College in August 2017 when 63 children died in just two days, between August 10 and 11, allegedly because the oxygen supply to the children’s ward at the hospital, including critical care units, ran out.
After massive outrage, he was suspended and the UP government said he had failed to take prompt action or warn his superiors about the impending crisis despite knowing about the situation.
The government had also claimed that Dr Khan was the nodal medical officer in charge of the crucial encephalitis ward at the hospital and therefore, would have known about any critical shortages.
But now a 15-page government probe report findings say Dr Khan was not guilty of medical negligence, he was not guilty of being involved in the tendering process of supplying oxygen to the hospital or involved in any associated corruption.
An FIR was registered against nine persons, including Dr Khan and the former principal of the medical college. On September 2, 2017, Dr Khan was arrested by UP Police and sent to jail.
Eight months after he was jailed, Dr Kafeel Khan was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in April 2018, with the court saying there was no direct evidence of negligence on his part.
“While the government has not been able to pin down the actual culprit yet, I have been made the scapegoat. The report was not sent to me in all these months. Now, the Medical Education Department has asked me to come forth to present my case on the private practice issue, which is not even related to the tragedy,” Dr Khan said.
“The government should tender an apology, provide victims with compensation and get the incident probed by the CBI,” he added.