COVID-19 patient says United Hospital is asking him to leave

Tests on Sultan Mia’s samples which he gave at the Dhaka hospital on Wednesday came back positive the following day, he told over the phone on Friday night. He had displayed symptoms of the respiratory disease for a week.

He got admitted to the hospital and was kept at the observation ward. He complained that since Thursday night the hospital administration had been pushing him to move to another hospital, saying that he needed to be treated under intensive care.

“I am here with an oxygen mask on and when it is taken off, my respiratory problems worsen. In such a condition, they are asking me to leave. Where would I go? I feel a bit better when I get oxygen support,” Sultan said.

His wife, Farhana Tabassum, told that people from the hospital had been calling her to move her husband elsewhere.

But she could not secure an ICU bed trying many hospitals in Dhaka throughout Friday.

“They keep telling me – ‘take your patient away, we can’t keep him.’ They are saying that they cannot take risks. Where would I go in these trying times? He can’t stay a moment without the oxygen supply,” Farhana said, her voice cracking with sobs.

“I went to Square, Apollo, Dhaka Medical, Kuwait Friendship Hospital, Kurmitola Hospital, Regent, Mugda Hospital, but couldn’t manage an ICU bed. The doctors don’t want to take in any coronavirus patient.”

Responding to the complaint, Dr Shagufa Anwar, chief communication and business development officer at the United Hospital, said the ICU facility is always under pressure and it has gone up now.

“We have a limited number of beds in our ICU unit and none of them are empty at the moment. So we are asking those who need ICU beds to shift to other hospitals with ICU facilities. And the situation is similar in other hospitals as well.”

On Apr 14, complaints were raised against United Hospital over taking a COVID-19 patient off life support and issuing the discharge letter.

The World Bank Senior Health Specialist Zia Hyder made the complaint over her mother’s treatment and later shifted her to the Bangladesh Kuwait Friendship Government Hospital where she passed away on Apr 23.

Allegations have it that the United Hospital officials tried to conceal the fact after five of its staff members tested positive for coronavirus in the same month. At least two doctors from the hospital made the complaint.

On Wednesday night, five patients in the isolation unit of the hospital died in a fire incident. Later, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam condemned the lack of an adequate fire safety system at the hospital after visiting the scene.

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