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Tale of a ‘sick’ hospital!

Published : 04 Apr 2022 10:31 PM | Updated : 04 Apr 2022 10:31 PM

A hospital that is supposed to serve critically sick patients, itself needs emergency attention to repair or replace some of the medical equipment used to treat dying patients.

Many seriously ill patients often fail to avail basic treatment as most of the medical equipment remain out of order depriving patients referred from distant places.

Locals often ridicule the services of the hospital - Rangpur Medical College Hospital - as ‘sick’. 

Despite repeated appeals for repairing, it is alleged that the hospital authority has taken no initiative to repair the damaged medical equipment remaining out of order for such a long time.

The list of such damaged medical equipment could be very long, however, just to mention a few here are some references. 

The angiogram machine, used to identify blocked heart blood vessels, is broken. The CT scan machine, used for obtaining detailed images of inside the body, is also out of order for quite some time. The echo ultrasonogram machine has not been functioning for two years. In the nephrology department, 12 out of 28 dialysis machines for kidney patients remain out of order putting serious pressure on the department. 

Due to such a situation for a long time, patients have to suffer a lot. The cost of transporting dying patients to various private diagnostic centers is increasing. Patients and their attendants allege that many of the hospital staff and doctors earn extra money by referring patients to private diagnostic centers and clinics. 

It is learned that the condition of the kidney department of Rangpur Medical College Hospital has become critical. A few days ago, there were 28 functioning dialysis machines for kidney patients in the nephrology department. Twelve of them are now out of order. 

Sahabul Haque, a relative of a patient who came for dialysis, said, "We have bought a package worth Tk 25,000. The package offers weekly four dialyses for six months. However, everything from needles to dialyzers would have to be borne by us. It takes four hours for a patient to undergo dialysis, almost double the time required.”

According to multiple sources in the hospital, the angiogram machine has been out of order since October 2019. As a result, proper heart tests, permanent and temporary pacemakers and ring placements are discontinued. 

Rangpur Medical College Hospital has not had a CT scan machine for almost three years. Patients seeking medical treatment have been suffering due to the non-availability of new CT scan machines for a long time. 

Relatives of a patient suffering from a complex disease in the hospital cabin said that the doctor at the hospital suggested a CT scan to diagnose the disease. However, the CT scan machine in the hospital remains damaged.

Due to the lack of necessary equipment and reforms, the condition of the ICU is also fragile at present. Authorities are struggling to cope with the widespread patient pressure. 

It is learned that the patient is being treated in six beds of 10 bed ICU. Oxygen and gas outlets in four beds are damaged. Echo ultrasonogram machines, portable X-ray machines, and biochemical analyzer machines for testing blood and other body fluids, which were used to examine the heart of dying patients in the ICU have long been out of order. 

When contacted, Dr Rezaul Karim, director of Rangpur Medical College Hospital, said that although some were damaged, 16 dialysis machines in the kidney department are in operation at present. As a result, everything is normal in that ward. However, the CT scan machine is not in a condition to be repaired. Arrangements will be made to bring a new CT scan machine if the allocation is available in the current financial year. 

Mentioning that the demand letter of damaged equipment has been sent to Dhaka, he said that the demand has also been given to the central pharmacy under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to activate the obsolete ICU beds.