Barishal Covid-19 Crisis: More beds, ICU a crying need
As the Covid-19 situation worsens in Barishal city, its residents as well as those from neighbouring districts are facing an acute crisis of ICUs, Covid beds, and oxygen cylinders.
Visiting Covid-dedicated Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital yesterday, this correspondent saw patients from the city, greater Barishal district, Pirojpur, and other areas being turned back by the hospital authorities, as they have run out of capacity.
''We are asking those who are not in a critical condition to stay back home in isolation, as all 300 of our beds are occupied," hospital director Dr HM Saiful Islam told The Daily Star.
After visiting the Corona Isolation Unit in the afternoon, this correspondent came to know that at least a dozen patients seeking admission were turned back from the hospital in the previous 24 hours. Some came in with symptoms, while others were in more severe conditions.
On condition of anonymity, a ward sfatter working at the isolation unit said all of the hospital's beds are filled up at the moment. In fact, many patients are camping on the hospital's floors and taking treatment from there. He also cited shortage of oxygen cylinders and oxygen supply.
"We have 22 ICUs, all of which are occupied. There are 54 people lined up for a bed," said Dr Moniruzzaman Shahin, assistant director of the hospital.
To mitigate the situation, hospital authorities have initiated works to set up a central oxygen line for 100 new beds on the fourth floor.
"Once completed, 300 oxygen cylinders and 9,000 litres of central oxygen will be available here," said Dr Moniruzzaman.
Meanwhile, volunteers as well as Barishal Metropolitan Police (BMP) are stepping up to help patients by providing free oxygen cylinders, among other services. However, the demand is so high, that even they are running out of stock.
Imran Habib Rumon, a founder of Oxygen Bank, said all 300 of their oxygen cylinders are already being used by people. He said they're at least a 100 cylinders short right now.
Social worker Pankaj Kumar Gupta, who runs his own free oxygen initiative, said all his 10 cylinders are in use too, which led him to buy 10 more recently.
SI Sajib, who's in-charge of BMP's free oxygen cylinder booth, said they have given out cylinders to 53 people in the last 10 days.