One Stop Emergency and Casualty: A leap forward for patient care
On a Tuesday afternoon, Marzia Akter (25) was taking her husband, who had contracted dengue, back home from the One Stop Emergency and Casualty (OSEC) unit at Kurmitola General Hospital, following his treatment.
"As soon as we reached here [OSEC], they collected blood samples for tests as per the on-duty doctor's advice. We received the results in less than an hour. They were prompt and efficient... my husband is now doing well and we've been discharged," said Marzia.
Like her, attendants of other patients also expressed their satisfaction over the service at the country's first-ever OSEC unit in a public hospital, launched on December 5.
With immediate diagnosis facility, we can determine the patients' condition in less than an hour. It has reduced the hassles both for us and the patients.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has planned to expand the service to other hospitals countywide.
OSEC is an upgrade to the emergency unit, through which necessary diagnosis and medicines are more readily available to treat emergency patients, according to the on-duty physicians.
"With immediate diagnosis facility, we can determine the patients' condition in less than an hour. It has reduced the hassles both for us and the patients," said Dr Nafis Imteaz, on-duty medical officer at Kurmitola hospital OSEC.
A total of 27 types of diagnostic tests, including bed-side ultra-sonogram, echocardiogram, portable X-ray, and pathological services, are available there at a low price.
Visiting the OSEC recently, this correspondent saw healthcare staffers busy providing treatment to the incoming patients in need of emergency treatment.
At the emergency room, there were 12 beds, equipped with monitoring system, along with two portable ECG machines.
In a nearby room, three ICU beds were kept as backup, while there were 10 beds in another room for patients requiring longer stay.
"Besides, there is an operation theatre in the OSEC for patients requiring emergency surgery," informed Dr Imteaz.
"We had few OSEC-like services before. Now, those have been strengthened further," said Brig Gen Fazlul Kabir, director of the hospital.
He, however, said they have been struggling to ensure quality service at the OSEC unit due to a workforce shortage.
The unit has only six physicians and eight nurses. The authorities have been struggling to continue diagnostic services round-the-clock due to inadequate number of technologists.
"No new workforce was given to us from the health directorate," he added.
Prof Ahmedul Kabir, additional director general (administration) at DGHS, said they will provide necessary human resource support to all the OSECs soon.
In addition to Kurmitola hospital, OSEC units at three other public hospitals in Dhaka are awaiting inauguration this month -- Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital, Mugda Medical College Hospital, and Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital -- according to health officials.