A 55-year-old businessman died yesterday from breathing complexities and chest pain, after allegedly being denied treatment at three different hospitals in Sylhet.
The deceased was proprietor of an electronics store in the city.
"He had breathing complexity since last night. We took him to Al Haramain Hospital around 6 in the morning but they turned us away. We then reached North East Medical College Hospital, who did the same," said his brother.
"Desperate, we went to Sylhet Saheed Shamsuddin Ahmed Hospital [the dedicated hospital for Covid-19 patients] but found one was there. Finally, we reached Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, where the duty doctor declared him dead around 7:30am," he said.
This was not the first such incident in Sylhet. On June 1, a 63-year-old woman died on ambulance after being turned away by six private hospitals. On May 31, a 70-year-old woman from Sreemangal of Moulvibazar died after being turned away by seven private hospitals in the city.
WHAT THE HOSPITALS SAY
Dr Sushanto Kumar Mahapatro, resident medical officer of Sylhet Saheed Shamsuddin Ahmed Hospital, said, "I checked CCTV footage of our hospital's entrance and found one ambulance came to the gate, stayed for a couple of minutes, and left."
"I heard that they alleged that the gate was closed and someone turned them away saying everyone's asleep. These are false accusations," he said.
Dr Nahian Chowdhury, assistant director of Al Haramain Hospital, said, "The patient is our regular outdoor patient and they were hiding his medical history. He came to our hospital a couple of days ago with Covid-19 like symptoms and was advised by our doctors for testing."
"They brought him to the hospital again with severe breathing complexities, but we don't have any ICU facility in the isolation centre for suspected cases. We had to turn him away since we cannot place him in the regular ICU unit with other patients as we suspected he was infected with Covid-19 days before," he said.
Dr Nazmul Islam, director of North East Medical College Hospital, said, "I was on duty in the morning and admitted patients no matter what symptoms they had, as we have started dedicated service for Covid-19 patients. So far I have been informed that no patient had been turned away by us. We will still look into the matter."
WHAT GOVT OFFICIAL SAYS
Dr Anisur Rahman, assistant director of Sylhet Divisional Health Office, said, "We have warned all hospitals after such incidents took place earlier. Unfortunately, we cannot proceed without any written complaint."
He urged people to come forward whenever they are faced with such incidents.