A plethora of problems such as lack of infectious disease specialists and no central oxygen support leave both patients and staff at risk
The government had set up Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital to treat most Covid-19 patients, but did not appoint any infectious disease specialist -- a crucial factor for treating the highly infectious disease -- since the first coronavirus case was reported in Bangladesh.
Due to the lack of an expert for supervision and consultation on the matter, there is high risk that the coronavirus may spread among the doctors, patients, and all medical staff of the hospital, insiders said.
An herbal physician of the hospital has already tested positive with Covid-19 on Tuesday, however the hospital authority claimed the physician was not infected while providing treatment, as he did not directly treat any Covid-19 patients admitted at the hospital.
Some doctors who came in contact with the herbal specialist are now in quarantine at a city hotel.
Wishing not to be named, a consultant of the hospital told Dhaka Tribune it is very important that a hospital dealing with Covid-19 patients has a number of infectious disease specialists.
“But we do not have even one infectious disease specialist in the hospital,” he said.
The doctor said dissatisfaction is prevailing among healthcare workers and also among patients at the hospital because of inadequate facilities to treat critical patients.
The hospital does not have any central oxygen facility, rather it is treating critical patients with cylinder oxygen, sources said.
“Any critical patient with breathing problems needs immediate oxygen support. But here a patient has to call a doctor or nurse for oxygen, instead.
“A doctor or nurse has to come to the patient after wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which takes 30 minutes to an hour at least. This delay is risky for critical patients,” a doctor at the hospital, wishing not to be named, said.
According to experts, an infectious disease specialist usually observes patient history and analyzes medical records and reports.
The specialist also observes the characteristics and infection trends of a virus or bacteria and advises hospital staff so that the disease cannot spread to any other person engaged with the treatment.
Dr Nirupam Das, chief administrator of Bangladesh Doctors’ Foundation (BDF), said it is mandatory for any hospital treating Covid-19 patients to have an infectious disease specialist.
“Doctors working to treat Covid-19 patients do not even have good quality PPE and for such reasons, the doctors are getting infected by the coronavirus,” he added.
Nirupam further said the hospital does not have other specialists to treat comorbidities either.
He complained that private hospitals are not treating Covid-19 patients and are also ignoring patients with respiratory problems.
Acknowledging the need for an infectious disease specialist, Dr Shihab Uddin, coordinator of Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, said they are receiving training in this regard.
Regarding oxygen support, he said they are treating patients now on different floors and therefore setting up a central oxygen system will be difficult.
Substandard food and shortages of N95 masks spell more suffering for staff
Moreover, nurses at the hospital on Wednesday alleged that they did not get proper food in the hotel which has been rented for their accommodation.
Some of the nurses vented their anger on social media for not being given proper food after a whole day of work.
There is also a shortage of N95 masks in the hospital, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for health professionals.
The hospital will run out of masks soon. Md Alimuzzaman, administration officer of the hospital said, they are expecting to collect more masks within a day or two.
Regarding the food problem, he said they are aware of the issue and the problem was already solved after a meeting was held with the hotel authorities, he said.