General patients in critical condition are helpless without proper medical care and are passing a frightening time deprived of the urgent treatment they need.
As the country’s medical system has focussed its main attention to breaking the tide of coronavirus outbreak, many patients with critical health problems are suffering a lot.
Meanwhile, the private chambers of doctors are also closed. Even known patients are not able to get their services.
The unwell people and their anxious families are running from one hospital to another for having access to health service while critical patients are embracing death before receiving the treatment as there is ‘no plan’ on how to offer treatment to or conduct diagnosis of general patients during this coronavirus crisis, some victims told Bangladesh Post while sharing their sufferings.
They said many critical patients are being turned away by the hospitals due to ‘mismanagement’, doctors’ excessive precaution and obsession with personal safety, the fear of infection of the virus and also for lack of manpower.
Moving around some public and private hospitals in the capital, this Bangladesh Post correspondent found relatives of critically ill and dying patients moving from one hospital to another. But admission is a long way off, many are not even getting a chance to speak there.
In this context, some of the victims expressed their anger and said that there is a government in the country and there are laws of the government, but the hospitals are not following the instructions of the government. So why are these hospital licenses valid?
The normal patients are also being deprived of regular checkup and treatment as many senior doctors are declining to attend the patients to avoid the virus transmission while premier hospitals like Dhaka Medical College (DMCH), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Kurmitola and Mughda general hospitals are giving the main focus on testing Covid19 and dealing with such patients.
According to an investigation, the treatment opportunities of non-covid or general patients have been greatly reduced. Their health risks have increased a lot. Especially those with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, paralysis, asthma, liver, kidney, dental and eye diseases, and those suffering from chronic diseases - their health risks have increased a lot.
Patients are moving from one hospital to another, but the hospitals are not taking admission. Even pregnant mothers were being discharged from the hospitals despite having pain.
Marjana Akther, a 40-year-old woman of Mogbazar told Bangladesh Post that recently her mother fell sick with high fever and she took her mother to a doctor’s chamber in the city, and after some diagnoses it was found that her mother had lung infections.
As per the doctor’s advice, she said, they took her mother to a private hospital and some clinics but they refused to provide treatment suspecting that she was infected with coronavirus.
It is known through the social media, relatives of the patients and from the news media that many sick people are rushing from one hospital to another for treatment,but in vain.
A student of Dhaka University died after visiting several hospitals for treatment but did not get treatment in time. In Narayanganj, a nine-month-pregnant woman died in an auto-rickshaw without being treated at various hospitals.
Besides, an additional secretary of the Bangladesh government was suffering from kidney complications. He died on May 9 after being admitted to Kurmitola General Hospital due to untimely treatment at almost all the prestigious hospitals in Dhaka.
In Sylhet,relatives went to six private hospitals one by one to admit a dying patient; But he was not admitted to any hospital. The patient died in the ambulance.
News of many more such incidents is being published in the media almost every day. Lawyers said that these are not only tragic incidents, but also examples of extremely bad behavior. Proper investigation of these incidents should lead to severe punishment for those involved.
Public health experts said, hospitals are established to provide services to the people, if the hospital does not provide proper services to the people, it can no longer be called a hospital.
However, amid such widespread allegations, the Health Ministry on Tuesday issued three directives to ensure the treatment of non-Covid patients at all hospitals across the country.
1. All private hospitals/clinics should have separate arrangements for the treatment of COVID-19 suspects.
2. Despite having treatment facilities at hospitals/clinics, emergency patients must not be denied treatment. In the case of referring patients, the authorities must consult COVID Hospital Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services to ensure the patients’ proper treatment.
3. The patients who have been receiving various treatments, including kidney dialysis, for a long time must be given treatment if they are not infected with COVID-19.
If any government or private hospital of the country does not follow the directives, necessary action will be taken, including revoking license against them as per the existing provision.
Earlier, the ministry and the directorate had instructed all government and private hospitals to ensure medical treatment for all types of patients.
According to the directives, all private and government hospitals must have separate arrangements for treating suspected COVID-19 patients. The private hospitals and clinics should not refuse treatment to COVID-19 patients if they had the requisite facilities or equipment, said the directives.
Earlier on April 30, Additional Director General (Administration) of the Health Department Nasima Sultana said in a statement that a patient could not be returned directly from a government or private hospital. If the suspect is a corona patient, it should be reported to the control room of the health department.
The statement said that if a patient in a government or private hospital is found to be suffering from corona disease or if the patient cannot be treated for any reason, it is directed to call the corona integrated control room number of the health department for consultation.
DMCH Principal Prof Khan Abul Kalam Azad said that many non-corona patients are finding it hard to get access to healthcare due to the pressure of the COVID-19 patients.
He said, “As we’ve set up a coronavirus unit, we now can’t give the service that we used to provide earlier for precaution, shortage of manpower and some other reasons. We urge non-corona patients to choose other hospitals for treatment until the situation improves.”