In the last seven days, the heads of three intensive care units (ICUs) in Bangladesh hospitals have died from Covid-19.
Professor Dr Mirza Nazim Uddin, head of the ICU department in the capital's Square Hospital, breathed his last on June 7 after fighting the virus for three weeks in the ICU of the private hospital.
Five days later, Professor Dr Zalilur Rahman, Impulse Hospital's ICU in-charge and senior consultant, followed Dr Nazim. He was also undergoing treatment at the hospital's ICU after he tested positive for the virus on June 9.
On June 13, BRB Hospital's ICU Department chief Dr Mohammad Sazzad Hossain died from the novel coronavirus too. He was receiving treatment at the ICU of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Dr Mozaffar Hossain, head of the department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine of the DMCH, is also receiving treatment in the ICU after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.
Dr Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury, general secretary of the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), told the Business Standard, "Anesthesiologists get infected with the virus when they set up ventilators for patients."
Dr Ehteshamul further said most of the fallen doctors were aged persons with comorbid conditions.
Dr Debabrata Banik, president of Bangladesh Society of Anaesthesiologist, said ICU doctors have to work very close to the patient's nose and mouth. These are the main ways through which the novel coronavirus enters the human body. So, these doctors are getting more infected.
Doctors who provide high-flow oxygen to patients are also getting infected.
Dr Debabrata said typically, a negative pressure is maintained in the ICUs, which means new air regularly enters a room and drives away the air prevailing there. This facility is not available in most of the ICUs in the country.
So, whenever the density of virus increases in an ICU or any defect appears in the personal protective equipment or the masks become loose, the virus attacks the persons there.
"There are very few ICU specialists in the country. It will not be possible to overcome the losses if the doctors among this handful of people die within a short period. Both the medical and education services will be disrupted," said Dr Debabrata.
He demanded that the authorities concerned set up systems to maintain negative room pressure in the ICUs and employ more doctors.
"Employing more doctors will reduce the doctors' duty working hours and lower the risk of infection," he added.
So far, 30 doctors with novel coronavirus infection and five more doctors who had similar symptoms have died in the country. Some 1,011 doctors have contracted the virus till now, according to the BMA.