This article on “The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22” is Dr.Kafeel Khan’s first-hand chronicle of the events. Tragedy happened on the fateful night in August 2017. The gut-wrenching turmoil followed a suspension without end. Eight-month-long incarceration, and a relentless fight for justice in the face of extreme apathy and persecution. The chilling first-hand account of the medical tragedy led to the deaths of sixty-three children and eighteen adults after oxygen ran out at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh. ‘A harrowing tale of a doctor’s ordeal’

The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22

A HARROWING MEDICAL CRISIS. (The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

A DOCTOR IN THE EYE OF THE STORM.

HIS ACCOUNT OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED.

On the evening of 10 August 2017, liquid oxygen ran out at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College’s Nehru Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Reportedly, over the next two days, more than eighty patients – sixty-three children and eighteen adults – lost their lives. In the intervening hours, Dr Kafeel Khan, the junior-most lecturer at the college’s paediatrics department, went to extraordinary lengths to secure oxygen cylinders, perform emergency treatment and rally the staff in order to prevent as many deaths as possible.

As the news of the tragedy grabbed national attention, Khan was called a hero for working ceaselessly to control the crisis and drawing attention to a healthcare system in dire need of repair. But a few days later, he found himself suspended and that an FIR had been filed against nine individuals, including him, for corruption and medical negligence, among other grave charges. Soon after he was summarily carted off to jail.

The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy is Kafeel Khan’s first-hand chronicle of the events of that fateful night in August 2017 and the gut-wrenching turmoil that followed – a suspension without end, eight-month-long incarceration and a relentless fight for justice in the face of extreme apathy and persecution.

About the Author (The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

Dr Kafeel Khan was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. After completing his MBBS and MD in Paediatrics from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, in Karnataka, he worked as an assistant professor at the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences in Gangtok, before joining the Baba Raghav Das Medical College, Gorakhpur, as a lecturer.

Since his suspension from the BRD Medical College’s Nehru Hospital after the medical crisis of August 2017 and subsequent release from Gorakhpur Jail, Khan, along with his team and the help of ordinary citizens, has been working under the banner of Dr Kafeel Khan Mission Smile Foundation. He has also started a Health for All campaign to demand the Right to Healthcare legislation and has launched a new initiative named Doctors on Road to provide healthcare services to patients in the Indian hinterlands.

In January 2020, Khan was arrested again and charged under the National Security Act (NSA) for his allegedly inflammatory speech at the Aligarh Muslim University; he subsequently spent seven months in prison. On 1 September 2020, all the charges under the NSA were dropped by the Allahabad High Court. Khan was terminated from service on 9 November 2021 by the BRD Medical College, and as of December 2021, cases against him are being pursued in lower courts even though the enquiries conducted by the state and central governments have not found any evidence of medical negligence or corruption against him.

 Very well said about the things which happened with Dr. Sahab.(The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

  • 1 Explain everything what happened with children.
  • 2 Very simple English language used by author.
  • 3. Must read by non medical students to understand the scenario of govt hospitals.

A doctor made scapegoat for helping the poor and speaking the truth. (The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

 well documented book which exposes the corruption in supplies to the government hospital. The doctor has exposed system and revealed the truth about the deaths due to shortage of oxygen. The book also shows the consequences of speaking against the system.

2 years after Gorakhpur hospital tragedy, Dr Kafeel Khan gets clean chit

HIGHLIGHTS (The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

  • A departmental inquiry absolved Dr Kafeel Khan of the charges of corruption, medical negligence
  • The report comes two years after Khan was suspended from the hospital and spent nine months in jail
  • The doctor, who is out on bail, continues to be suspended from the BRD Medical College

Adepartmental inquiry has absolved pediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan of the charges of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty on the day more than 60 children died at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College due to oxygen shortage in August 2017.

The report comes two years after Khan was suspended from the hospital and spent nine months in jail for the charges that he has now been cleared of. The doctor, who is out on bail, continues to be suspended from the BRD Medical College. He has demanded a CBI probe into the tragedy.

Interestingly, 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.

Khan has blamed the state government for keeping him in the dark about being absolved of the allegations made against him for around five months.

“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,” he said.”The government should tender an apology, provide victims with compensation and get the incident probed by the CBI,” he added.

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.

As per the investigation report, Khan was not the nodal medical officer in-charge of the Encephalitis Ward at BRD Hospital and that the documents contesting the same provided by the Department were “inadequate and inconsistent.”(The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

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.

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.

A departmental inquiry has absolved pediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan of the charges of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty on the day more than 60 children died at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College due to oxygen shortage in August 2017. (Credit- India Today)

Excerpt from The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy (The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

We are at pain in observing that … non-supplying of oxygen to the hospitals is a criminal act and not less than a genocide by those who have been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement and supply chain of the liquid medical oxygen.’
– From an order passed by Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar of the Allahabad High Court on 4 May 2021In August 2017, following the deaths of more than sixty infants at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, after the hospital’s medical oxygen ran out, I was suspended and jailed for more than eight months.

The authorities denied that the hospital’s oxygen supply had been stopped, failed to identify the real culprits and instead blamed me for the fatalities.

Between 10 and 12 August, I worked round the clock, trying to figure out a way to restore the supply of life-giving oxygen to the infants and children admitted in the wards and the intensive care unit of the hospital’s Department of Paediatrics. What happened over the course of those two to three days would soon lead to a life-and-death struggle of my own: a fight for my liberty, to remain in the profession of healing and a battle to live and work in the place where I was born – Gorakhpur, the home of my ancestors.


Little did I know at the time that some years after qualifying as a doctor and embarking on my medical profession, I would be forced to newly educate myself through bitter lessons learnt by witnessing negligence and dereliction of duty, corruption and vicious prosecution.

It was only after navigating a series of crises in the past four years that I could understand why I had to go through this incredible ordeal. I was meant to become more conscious and aware – for my own sake and that of society.This book documents the arduous journey I was compelled to undertake after the events of August 2017, which upturned my life forever. (The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)

Child after child collapsed as doctors tried to get oxygen supply back on ( Credit- INDIA NEWS)

Even as 90 jumbo oxygen cylinders were pressed into service to maintain the supply on Friday, the hospital ran out of oxygen around 1 am.

As all hell broke loose at the hospital, as many as 50 more oxygen cylinders were brought in around 3.30 am, which also ran dry by 7.30 am. Of the 73 patients in the 100-bed encephalitis ward, 54 were on ventilator when the oxygen supply was disrupted at 7.30 am.

What followed was complete chaos as panic-stricken relatives of patients ran for help, and with the support of hospital staff tried to maintain supply of oxygen through artificial respiration using AMBU (artificial manual breathing unit) bags.

However, several patients started collapsing due inadequate supply. Besides encephalitis ward, the liquid oxygen plant — which was set up two years ago at the hospital — ensures piped oxygen supply to 300 other patients.

Deepankar Sharma of Pushpa Sales, the firm responsible for supplying oxygen to the hospital, said that he had informed the BRD authorities about the Rs 68,58, 596 dues despite the terms and condition of the agreement with the hospital clearly mentioning that arrears would not be more than Rs 10 lakh. As child after child began collapsing due to lack of oxygen, frantic doctors made desperate phone calls to the officials of Pushpa Sales and pleaded for restoration of service.

The hospital management, on the other hand, initiated the process to clear dues of Rs 22 lakh to the company. According to reports, the company officials have agreed to send a liquid oxygen tanker, which would reach hospital either by Saturday evening or by Sunday morning.

This, however, is not the first time the oxygen supply was disrupted by the company.

The company had also cut supply in April last year when its arrears had reached Rs 50 lakh. -(The Story of The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy 22)