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Private hospitals suspend duties in Chittagong, face criticism

  • Published at 07:58 am July 8th, 2018
  • Last updated at 06:47 pm July 8th, 2018
A mobile court of RAB conducting a drive at the Max Hospital in Chittagong city on Sunday, July 8, 2018 Collected

Chittagong unit of Medical Bangladesh Association expresses solidarity with the protests against RAB mobile court's drives

Private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and private practices have suspended all duties in the city due to a sudden drive conducted by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) against irregularities in two private hospitals in Chittagong.

Chittagong unit of Bangladesh Private Medical Practitioners' Association and Private Hospital and Diagnosis Owner's Association started the protest activity on Sunday.

As part of the protest, private hospitals have abstained from all duties and are not admitting any new patients.

The guardian of a patient complained they were sent away from all private hospitals even though the patient has been suffering from appendicitis complications.

Meanwhile, the Chittagong unit of Medical Bangladesh Association has expressed solidarity with the protests, President of the association Dr Muhidul Haque Khan confirmed.

RAB fines private hospitals for 'anomalies'

Mimtanur Rahman, assistant director (media) of RAB 7, said two mobile courts of the elite force started the drives at Max Hospital in Mehedibag area and Metropolitan Hospital at GEC intersection on Sunday.

Executive Magistrate of RAB Sarwar Alam informed reporters that during the drive RAB fined Tk10 lakh to Max Hospital for several anomalies found in their activities, and gave them 15 days to rectify the problems.

The failure of Max Hospital authorities to renew the registration of blood administration and employment of inexperienced technicians were two of the anomalies found in the hospital's activities.

“There is no biochemist and microbiologist in the pathology lab of the hospital. A person with an HSC degree was found to be testing the pathological samples here,” said Sarwar.

The hospital was also fined for outsourcing their diagnostic samples, both at home and abroad, despite records showing otherwise.

“After conducting the drive, we found that the hospital cum diagnostic centre does not perform any diagnostic tests here," said the RAB executive magistrate. "After collecting diagnostic samples from the patients, the hospital sends them to other diagnostic centres at home and abroad illegally.

"But the results of the diagnostic tests are signed by the pathologists of the hospital and printed in its pad,” he said.

He added that the errant hospital was actually providing its healthcare services as a commission agent.

Earlier, on June 29, a three-year-old baby named Raifa Khan died due to wrong treatment at Max Hospital.

Later, a probe body formed by the government to investigate the death of Raifa Khan found evidence of negligence in her treatment.

However, Sarwar Alam told reporters that the drive at the privately-run hospital has no connection with Raifa's death.

“This is a part of our routine drives across the country. I want make it clear that today’s drive is in no way related to the death of a patient here,” he said.

In another drive conducted by the executive magistrate Sarwar Alam, RAB fined a privately-run hospital with Tk4 lakh for several anomalies.

Officials from the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) also took part in the drive.

The errant facility, identified as Centre for Specialized Care & Research (CSCR), is located at OR Nizam Road in the port city.

The hospital was fined for using expired equipment at the operating theatre and for hosting an unlicensed pharmacy.

Meanwhile, vowing to continue with the drives, the executive magistrate said that the wildcat announcement to halt healthcare services for an indefinite period at the privately-run hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres will not have any impact on the ongoing drives against the errant facilities.   

"It goes against the country’s constitution and it is a serious offence if anybody refuses to provide healthcare services" said Sarwar. "Healthcare is a fundamental right and refusal to provide the service is a violation of human rights."

He further said that no patient from Bangladesh should have to go abroad because of the anomalies present in some errant facilities.

CAB: Stop playing with the lives of patients

Expressing grave concerns over the sudden strike in private clinics, diagnostic centres and private practices, Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said: "holding patients hostage for realization of demands is inhuman and tantamount to barbarity."

The CAB said this in a press release issued on Sunday.

The release further said private clinics could have lodged their grievances, if any, with concerned authorities following the punitive actions taken against Max Hospital for the massive anomalies found in it.

"The owners of private clinics and diagnostic centres in Chittagong city announced an indefinite closure of their organizations following a drive of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) at a privately-run hospital," the press release stated. "They could lodge their grievances with concerned authorities."

The CAB also urged the private medical practitioners and owners of private facilities to withdraw the strike without delay and abide by the country’s laws.

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