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Coronavirus survivor: Never felt so helpless in life

  • Published at 08:57 am May 7th, 2020
Coronavirus the test
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Patients allege that there is a lack of infrastructure in the hospitals

He was very scared, at Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, as doctors and nurses were standing far away from him wearing PPE when admitted to the hospital to get treatment after testing coronavirus positive.

His morale was high at home even with the fever. But he was losing it after going to the hospital.

Ashikur Rahman Raju, a videographer of Independent Television and one of the first media personnel in the country to be infected with the Covid-19, has recovered from the infection and recalled his ordeal at the hospital.

After being admitted at the hospital, a ward boy gave him a bedsheet, pillow, pillow cover, toilet tissue, and a bar of soap in a polythene bag. Then he locked the collapsible gate and left.

Ashikur had to make his own bed. He felt like he came to another world. He had never felt so helpless in his life.

No plates were given. He had to do everything by himself. Even when he had to pour water over his head, despite his fever, there was no one to help him. Not even a bucket or mug was there, he alleged.

The hospital staff left food outside of the collapsible gate and informed the patients inside using a hand mike, he added.

Ashikur said a woman was finding it difficult to breathe one day. She was taking off her oxygen mask. Another woman ran up to him and asked for help. He informed the doctors about the matter. But it took two hours for the hospital authority to transfer the woman to the ICU.

Several other people who recovered from the virus made similar allegations but wished to remain anonymous.

They alleged that doctors and nurses did not come on time. Some days they never showed up. Nurses did not pick up the phone for emergency services oftentimes.

Not just in Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, similar allegations are made against other government hospitals designated for treatment of coronavirus patients.

Another journalist Shahadat Hossain, who also recovered from coronavirus, talked about his experience on various electronic and print media.

He said him and his father-in-law tested coronavirus positive together and were later admitted to Kurmitola General Hospital.

They spent nine days at the hospital amid extreme adversity. There, he felt that the patients were staying without any guidance from the authority.

He said they saw a patient dying in front of their eyes. The body remained in the ward hours after the death. 

He said he understands that the hospital might not have had anyone to take the body immediately but this incident can cause severe trauma to a patient.

Seeking anonymity, some other people who recovered from coronavirus alleged that a doctor would come every 24 hours. He would check patients from a distance and leave. Sometimes the doctor did not show up even once a day.

They alleged that there were many patients in different wards but there were only three toilets and three baths for all of them which is not healthy.

A doctor who recovered from coronavirus said that the test result came 3-4 days later. He thinks it needs to happen faster.

What the authorities say

While talking about the allegations, Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital’s Director Dr Sarwarul Alam told Dhaka Tribune that as coronavirus treatment is a little different, doctors or nurses may not stay in the ward like other general hospitals.

Each floor and ward has an emergency control room number and also intercom. They are taking all kinds of measures as soon as they get the information, he said.

“No one has complained to us like this. We try to inform the government if there are any complaints and take actions immediately,” he added.

Kurmitola General Hospital Director Brigadier General Jamil Ahmed advised this correspondent to talk to the health department in this regard, saying they keep the health department updated on everything.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Additional Secretary (Health Services Division) Habibur Rahman Khan said: “We hear such allegations from different media at different times. Not all allegations are true. Then again, some allegations cannot be dismissed.” 

They are talking to authorities of the concerned hospitals on these matters and guiding them, he added.

He also said they take necessary steps when they receive such complaints.