Govt Hospitals on Eid Holidays: Many patients released

Limited services to be available for lack of on-duty doctors, nurses
Scared and perplexed, eight-year-old Hridoy, on a wheel-chair, was released on Monday after surgery and told to come back after Eid holidays. Photo: Shaheen Mollah

Eight-year-old Hridoy had a surgery at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital two weeks ago after he had suffered severe injuries to his abdomen while swimming in the Gournadi, Barisal.

He had been under observation until doctors released him on Monday and advised his parent to bring him back after Eid for further treatment.

Like Hridoy, many patients of public hospitals have been released ahead of Eid mostly because a large number of doctors and nurses will be on leave during the holiday and so the hospitals will not be able to serve patients to their full capacity.

While many patients themselves want to go home to celebrate Eid, many fear facing health complications during the holiday and long hassle to get admission later to the hospitals that see huge rush of patients round the year.

Hridoy's mother Rahima Begum expressed concern as she talked to The Daily Star while looking for an auto-rickshaw outside the DMCH to go home at Kamrangirchar in Dhaka. Unable to walk, the boy was on a wheelchair beside her. 

“It will be very difficult to get a bed [admission to the paediatric surgery department] again after the holiday,” she said.

During visits to the DMCH, National Institute of Traumatology, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation (Nitor), Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital and the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), these correspondents saw patients being discharged and very few getting admission. 

According to hospitals' officials, only 15 to 20 percent of doctors and nurses -- mostly non-Muslims -- will be on duty during the holiday. Patients will receive emergency services. Outdoor services will be closed.

Sources at the DMCH said the number of patients kept admitted on Sunday morning was 2,734, down from more than 3,600 last week. More patients would be discharged ahead of Eid, they said.

At Nitor, 473 patients were receiving treatment on Thursday, reduced from more than 550 a week ago.

Waiting for an auto-rickshaw in front of the NICVD on Saturday morning, Mahfuza Begum, 50, a female Ansar member, said she was worried about her health condition though released from the hospital.

She had come to the hospital on August 23 with chest pain. "Had the doctors allowed me to stay, I would have stayed here.... I feel very little improvement of my health," she said.

Some 752 patients remained admitted at the NICVD until Saturday from nearly 850 last week.

The situation at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital was similar with 780 indoor patients on the day while the usual number of such patients is more than 900.

At Mitford Hospital, Dhaka, 815 patients were receiving healthcare on bed tickets on Monday while the facility sees more than a thousand patients on any usual day.

According to hospitals' officials, ICUs, CCUs, post operative wards and gynaecology and emergency units will be open during the vacation.

Dr Samir Kanti Sarkar, director (admin) of the Directorate General of Health Services, told The Daily Star outdoor services at the hospitals would be closed on Friday and Saturday.

Those will be open the day after the Eid day for three hours from 10:00am.

Since doctors and nurses will be on leave, patients whose condition is not that critical are being released ahead of Eid, Samir said. Besides, patients want to celebrate Eid at home and so their relatives ask for their release from the hospitals.

The DGHS director, however, acknowledged that some patients may face complication at home in absence of follow-ups.   

The hospitals' authorities prefer to run the operations by non-Muslims doctors, nurses and other staffs at this time. If there are not enough non-Muslims staffers, health services will be continued by Muslim staffers, Samir added.