Kushtia hospital overrun with Covid-19 patients
The wave of Covid-19 patients has turned Kushtia General Hospital helpless. Every one and a half hours, someone is losing their life, and many are close to dying at the 250-bed medical facility. Doctors say the situation is truly out of their control.
According to hospital sources, 22 people died from Covid-19 or symptoms of the disease in the last 24 hours till 8am yesterday.
A total of 268 Covid-19 patients were being treated there till Wednesday morning. The hospital does not have the capacity to treat so many people, said Tapos Kumar Sarkar, the hospital's resident medical officer (RMO).
Sarkar said they could not support many patients; the kind of treatment patients need is not being provided there. According to his calculations, most of the patients needed oxygen. Oxygen saturation of many patients was between 45 and 60 percent.
On Wednesday, this correspondent observed the hospital's situation and talked to authorities. On-duty doctors said they are dealing with a difficult situation.
Kushtia Medical College assistant professor Akramuzzaman Mintu said all patients who went to the Covid-19-dedicated Kushtia General Hospital in the last week had the Delta variant.
They go to the hospital after spending a week in home isolation, and by then, their condition becomes critical. They are taken there at the last moment, so doctors have nothing much to do, as most patients' oxygen level goes below 60.
He said the mortality rate of these types of patients is high. In addition, most of them suffer from diabetes, heart problems, asthma, hypertension, high blood-pressure and liver disease. Despite wholehearted efforts, it is not possible to keep them alive.
Dr Rajiv Maitra is working at the hospital's Covid-19 unit. He said more than a hundred patients have oxygen saturation below 80 percent.
While doctors remain helpless, patients are in complete misery.
Dewan Rashiduzzaman had taken his wife to the hospital last Sunday but could not get any bed. With no other option, he decided to stay in the hospital's corridors with his wife.
Oxygen saturation of his wife, Ulka, was 70. She has diabetes.
Rashiduzzaman said after being infected, Daulatpur Health Complex advised Ulka to be in home isolation. Seeing her condition deteriorate, he took her directly to Kushtia General Hospital. Now, the doctor said Ulka's condition is bad.
This correspondent observed that there was almost no place to stand comfortably due to the crowd of patients. Social distancing was non-existent. Relatives of patients were seen sitting or lying next to them.
There is a shortage of manpower and space. Doctors, nurses and other staffers were seen struggling to provide services.
Abdul Momen, deputy director (hospital's caretaker), told The Daily Star that patients' pressure was increasing with each passing moment.
About 40-50 new patients were being admitted every day, but less than half of the admitted patients were being released. The health ministry has provided some more medical equipment, and it was on its way, he said.
The RMO said the hospital has one C-PAP and B-PAP, machines used to manage breathing, and four intensive care unit (ICU) and 24 high dependency unit (HDU) beds.
The HDU beds, equipped with high-flow nasal cannula and other modern equipment, are mainly used for treating patients with complications. Other patients are receiving treatment in normal beds with either central oxygen service or oxygen cylinders. Central oxygen is being supplied to 64 beds, and it is possible to provide high-flow oxygen to 22 people.
"Anyone with oxygen saturation of 45 to 60 percent needs high-flow oxygen, but it's not possible to provide it to everyone here. As a result, they were being treated with either central oxygen service or oxygen cylinders," said Sarkar.
He said about 500 oxygen cylinders are needed daily, and the hospital has 647 cylinders. It also has 6,000 litres of central oxygen, and 10 people are given 24-hour oxygen support with it.
Kushtia Civil Surgeon HM Anwarul Islam said the district is not in good shape, and the situation is worrying. The number of deaths and infections is increasing in all upazilas.
He said doctors were tackling the situation within their limited capacity across the district.
Amid the crisis of doctors, nurses and midwives, about 65 leaders and activists of Chhatra League's Kushtia district unit have been assisting the hospital's Covid-19 unit as volunteers for the last seven months. This has saved the hospital's medical services from collapsing, the civil surgeon said.