ICU at Chest Diseases Hospital inoperative | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, November 13, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, November 13, 2009

ICU at Chest Diseases Hospital inoperative

Facing lack of skilled hands, power supply problem

The National Institute of Diseases of Chest and Hospital (NIDCH) in Dhaka lacks capability to run an Intensive Care Unit despite being fully equipped around five years back.
A 10-bed ICU was set up to provide service to patients of acute respiratory tract distress syndrome and respiratory failure in 2005, and to facilitate treatment, hospital authorities brought 10 ventilators at Tk 48 lakh.
But the efforts went in vain as the main pre-requisites, continuous power supply and trained manpower, for running the ICU could not be ensured. Therefore 10 ventilators remained idle for a few years with two becoming inoperative by now.
A couple of weeks back the hospital authorities opened the ICU with four beds using a small generator for uninterrupted power supply.
"Patients in a critical condition in ICU need artificial ventilation without any interruption that would imperil the patients' survival, and to run the ventilators, continuous power supply is necessary," said Director of the hospital Mostafizur Rahman.
"We faced difficulties to ensure uninterrupted power supply due to bureaucratic tangles," he added.
The government has recently approved a gas-generator as an alternative power source during power-cuts but acquisition of gas-line extension from Titas seems an impossibility due to bureaucratic delays, the director said.
NIDCH is a specialised public hospital for chest diseases but it is incapable of rendering proper services to its patients, said Medical Superintendent Dr Biswas Akhtar Hossain to The Daily Star.
"Every day we have to refer patients who need ventilation and other supports to another hospital, as we don't have adequate arrangement for that," he said.
The patients from poor families suffer the most, as it's not possible for them to bear the expenses of a private hospital, he added.
"My patient is in critical state and I could not manage a bed for him in ICU. Besides, I can't afford treatment of a private hospital for him," a relative of a patient said expressing his despondency.
The OT complex at NIDCH is now representing a bare structure, as if waiting forever to be in operation due to manpower shortage.
Right now the hospital has only two operating theatres for which the patients have to wait for long two and a half months to get a serial to have a surgery done.
Three major operations and 12 minor operations can take place every day in the OTs, hospital sources said.
"With the running of the OT complex, we can double the number of operations currently taking place every day," said Biswas Akhtar.
The hospital is having 670 beds with around 400 staffs. But for it to function smoothly, it needs 60 more staffs immediately, said the director.
"Apart from giving service to in-patients, we have to serve around 350 outpatients every day," he added.
The patients suffer to get a bed in the hospital as the number of patients seeking treatment is increasing day by day.
An increase in bed numbers in the hospital by 10 percent is possible with the current budget and a letter in this regard has been sent to the health ministry last year but we are yet to get any response, said the hospital authorities.

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