Like in previous years, healthcare at well-known city hospitals during Eid vacation would depend mostly on a handful of doctors and nurses.
The trend is set to continue, although the authorities on several occasions had pledged to change it.
While visiting six hospitals, including Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), and Nitor, yesterday, The Daily Star correspondent found that the hospitals were admitting fewer numbers of patients compared to other days. They were discharging patients, who they considered not serious, to keep up with the work load during the vacations.
However, emergency facilities like casualty departments, ICUs, CCUs, labour wards and emergency operations would be available during the holidays, said sources at the hospitals.
At the DMCH, the number of patients admitted yesterday was nearly 2,000. Usually, the number ranges between 3,500 and 3,800.
Sources at the emergency and outdoor departments said fewer patients were being admitted there on the instruction of the DMCH authorities. On average, 300 patients are admitted at the emergency department. Yesterday, it was around 200.
One of the patients discharged yesterday was Mobarok Hossain, 40, who had been receiving treatment at the hospital for blood cancer and jaundice since May 28.
He became weak after chemotherapy. He said the hospital authorities told him to return after the vacation. However, he said it was difficult for him at this moment to travel to his village in Jhenaidah and come back.
Contacted, DMCH Director Gen AKM Nasir Uddin claimed that patients were going home to celebrate Eid with their family as per their wishes.
The situation was similar at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, Nitor, NICVD, National Institute of Kidney Diseases & Urology and Dhaka Shishu Hospital.
At Suhrawardy hospital, the family of Nargis Begum, 65, was told yesterday to bring her back after the vacation.
Her son, Selim Miah, was worried about his mother's health as the left side of her body had been paralysed since she suffered a stroke on June 7.
“How can I take this patient to Chandpur during this Eid rush!” he said.
Sources at the hospital said 399 patients were admitted yesterday against 850 seats whereas around 1,000 patients were taken there on a “regular” day.
Only 120 nurses, all non-Muslim, will be on duty during the vacation of Eid, to be celebrated tomorrow, while Muslim doctors will be present only in those departments that have no non-Muslim doctors.
At NICVD, less than one-fourth of the total number of nurses will be looking after the patients during the vacation. The hospital had 655 patients admitted yesterday down from 950-1,000 on normal days.
NITOR, which deals with a huge number of patients with road-accident related injuries every day, will have only 103 nurses, all non-Muslim, to serve during the vacation, said sources at the hospital.