Only two hospitals in the entire Faridpur region have intensive care units, both of which are dedicated for Covid-19 patients, leaving other invalids needing ICU support dependent on Dhaka.
Gopalganj General Hospital has eight ICU beds, while Faridpur Medical College Hospital (FMCH) has 10 functional ICU beds. Shariatpur, Rajbari and Madaripur districts have no hospital with ICU facilities.
Niaz Mohammad, civil surgeon of Gopalganj, said since all the eight ICU beds are for coronavirus patients, doctors refer other patients needing ICU support to the capital.
Beside, Gopalganj General Hospital is not running with a dedicated ICU team, as it does not have posts for doctors, nurses and other medical staff for its ICU.
"It is very difficult to run an ICU without dedicated manpower," he said, adding that, currently 10 doctors including an anaesthesiologist, and 15 nurses from other departments have been assigned to the ICU.
All the ICU posts for seven doctors, 14 nurses and three technicians at FMCH are vacant. The ICU is currently run by nine doctors and 21 nurses from other units, Saiful Rahman, superintendent of the hospital, told The Daily Star.
Another 39 doctors and 39 nurses are working at the coronavirus isolation ward of the hospital, he added.
Though the hospital has 16 ICU beds, only 10 are functional. The other six have become damaged for not being used since their installation in 2015 due to manpower shortage, he said.
He also informed The Daily Star yesterday that 57 Covid-19 patients are taking treatment in FMCH including seven in the ICU. So far, 25 coronavirus patients including 13 in the ICU unit have died in the hospital.
"We are trying our level best to give the best service for the people," he said.
However, patients and their family members do not feel the same way.
"This ICU is nothing but an eyewash. The service is very poor there," complained Kushal Chakroborty Dip, whose father Kamalesh Chakraborty died at FMCH on May 31.
Covid-19 patient Kamalesh was admitted at FMCH on May 23 with breathing difficulty. During his hospital stay, he was shifted at least once to the ICU, where he reportedly did not get proper care.
"My father told me he had to wait for two hours for a glass of water in the ICU," said Kushal.
After testing Covid-19 positive, Khalilur Rahman and his wife took treatment at FMCH's coronavirus isolation unit between April 18 and April 30. They too were not happy with the medical care.
"We reached the hospital around 8:30am and the hospital authority took us to the isolation ward around noon. The quality of food was very bad for the first three days. Only one doctor visited us just once during our stay at the hospital. No doctor and nurse responded to our calls. The hospital water stank and had too much iron. I had to buy water from outside," he said.
Siddiqur Rahman, civil surgeon of Faridpur, said, "I have also received this kind of complaints from different patients. We are working on it and I hope the problems will be solved soon. We asked all the doctors and nurses to be kind to our patients."
Meanwhile, all critical patients, including those with Covid-19, from Shariatpur, Madaripur and Rajbari have to go Dhaka if they need ICU supports. It takes longer to go to Faridpur or Gopalganj from these three districts than what it takes to travel to Dhaka.
SM Abdulah-Al-Mamun, civil surgeon of Shariatpur, said, "If any patient in our district needs ICU support, we refer the patient to Dhaka.
"Sometimes, patients die on the way, but we can do nothing about it."
As of July 3, a total of 5,016 persons have been infected in Faridpur region, 53 died and 1,880 have recovered.
Till Friday, 3,350 out of 15,603 samples, which were tested at FMCH's RT-PCR lab, came out positive, said Ashraful Alam, professor of microbiology department of Faridpur Medical College and also the head of RT-PCR lab.
"The number of tests is increasing daily. We are working day and night. If we have another PCR machine, it will be easier for us to work," he added.
The lab can test 376 samples per day running four shifts. Only samples of Faridpur and Gopalganj are tested in this lab, said Faridpur's civil surgeon.
The samples of the other three districts are sent to Dhaka and results often take seven to 10 days to arrive.