The entire nation has been in a shock with the horrific death of over 60 little children due to a shortage of oxygen because of the alleged carelessness of staff and authorities of the BRD Medical College at Gorakhpur.
In the entire episode, one of the names that have emerged responsible for the unfortunate incident is that of Dr. Kafeel Khan, the head of the encephalitis ward at the hospital.
Apart from heading the encephalitis ward, the pediatrician was also in-charge of the purchase committee of the hospital which, reportedly, did not sanction the payment for oxygen cylinders on time as a result of which, there was a huge delay in their procurement and hence the death of more than 60 children at the hospital within a span of 5 days.
On the other hand, there were media reports declaring him the “hero” of the tragedy as he “borrowed three oxygen cylinders from a friend who runs a private nursing home” to save the lives of children who could have died. He reportedly made some more trips and managed to arrange a total of 12 cylinders on August 10. However, as told by KK Gupta, director general, medical education (Gorakhpur), there was no need to make trips to a private hospital to “borrow and buy from his own pocket” the cylinders, when 52 cylinders were already there in the hospital at that time.
While many hailed him as a “hero” who saved lives of many children who could have succumbed to death along with others victimized by the BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur tragedy, some folks also drew the attention of public to his “true” side by highlighting how he had been evading the rules and regulations of the government during his service as a doctor and the head of encephalitis ward at BRD Medical College Gorakhpur.
— Indian Nutty Right (@SupariShambhu) August 13, 2017
It is reported that Dr.Kafeel Khan practices at a private hospital of 50 beds for children in Gorakhpur. The hospital, named Medispring Hospital and Research Centre, is owned by his wife and is seen as the most sought after private hospital of the district.
— Raizo 🇮🇳 (@_toxfire) August 13, 2017
It is important to note that Dr. Khan had been practicing privately despite being warned by the government against doing so. Allegedly, Dr. Kafeel Khan’s picture while performing a surgery appeared on the Facebook page of the private hospital on May 12 despite Yogi Adityanath’s warning in April to all government doctors to abstain from private practice.
In fact, in October 2016, Dr. Kafeel Khan had submitted to the hospital in writing that he is not involved in any private practice. Therefore, his continuing to practice privately, despite the government’s warning and his acceptance of not doing so, spells out the clear and perhaps intentional evasion of rules implemented by the government.
Several other things about Dr. Kafeel Khan have been highlighted by media and social media users, which do not present a positive impression of him. For instance, an old report by India Today saying that some Dr. Kafeel Ahmed Khan hailing from Lucknow was arrested for impersonating someone else in the examination hall of the National Board of Examination (NBE). However, it is still not clear if this Dr. Kafeel Ahmed Khan is the same as Dr. Kafeel Khan of Gorakhpur. As per another report, Dr. Kafeel Khan was suspended by Manipal University for some criminal charges against him. When asked about these, the pediatrician said that he had no idea why past controversies are being raked up now.
Well, even if these past controversies are ignored, as called for by the so-called “hero” of the Gorakhpur tragedy, the fact that he has been practicing privately cannot be ignored. Therefore, if the Yogi Adityanath government has sacked him as nodal officer of the pediatrics department at BRD Medical College for “carrying out private practice” and “dereliction of duty”, it should come as no surprise to the doctor and his supporters.