The death has drawn intense criticism as another old woman died in an ambulance after going to six hospitals in Sylhet on June 1
A businessman in Sylhet died in Osmani Medical College Hospital on Friday morning after three hospitals refused to admit him. The deceased, Iqbal Hossain Khoka, 54, from the Kumarpara area, is the proprietor of RL Electronics in Bandarbazar in the city.
The death has drawn intense criticism as another old woman died in an ambulance after going to six hospitals in Sylhet on June 1.
A health ministry directive issued on May 24 reads that all public and private hospitals with 50 or more beds, must introduce separate medical facilities for Covid-19 suspects and general patients.
Iqbal Hossain Khoka's son Tiham Hossain said his father had chest pain and shortness of breath at around 5:30 am on Friday. They took him to Al Haramain Hospital in the Sobahanighat area.
"We repeatedly asked them to arrange oxygen but they delayed and wasted time. Later, they said they would not keep the patient, and told us to go to North East Hospital. Despite many requests, they did not provide oxygen," Tiham said.
He took his father to North East Hospital but were told there was no vacant bed there, and it was not possible to treat the patient.
"Then I contacted a known doctor who advised me to go to Shaheed Dr Shamsuddin Hospital."
Tiham said they went to Shamsuddin Hospital and found everything was closed. After 10-15 minutes, a security guard informed them that everyone in the hospital was asleep. So they took the patient to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital.
The duty officer recommended that his father be put in the CCU. However, an ECG was done in the corridor of the hospital without going inside the ward. Shortly afterwards, the on-duty doctor pronounced his father dead, he added.
The deceased's brother Zakir Hossain said, "Only a few days ago, my brother had a check-up at Al Haramain Hospital for around Tk20,000 but today they did not agree to treat the patient."
Al Haramain Hospital assistant director Nahyan Chowdhury said the patient needed ICU support when he arrived at the hospital in the morning. He was in our hospital 3-4 days ago. Our doctor Shahed Ahmed suggested that he have some tests done, and advised him to test for Covid-19 as well as he had fever and shortness of breath.
"Our hospital has isolation wards for Covid-19 patients but no ICU. So, we told him to go to North East Hospital. When there are around six patients in our ICU how can we admit a suspected patient there?" he added.
In this regard, coordinator of the Covid-19 unit of Northeast Hospital Prof Dr Nazmul Haque said, "We have not refused any patient since we started the Covid-19 unit. We have launched this unit for patients. However, we will investigate the allegations."
Shaheed Shamsuddin Hospital in Sylhet is a public hospital and declared for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The hospital's Resident Medical Officer Sushant Mohapatra denied the allegation that the patient was refused admission.
He said, "A doctor informed me over the phone that the patient came in the morning. Immediately, I told the emergency department to be ready. However, after waiting for a long time, the patient did not come."
"Later I heard the patient's relatives complained against us for not admitting him. After we looked into the matter, we came to know that an ambulance came around 6 am and stood in front of the main gate of the hospital. Two men then got out of the ambulance and talked. They did not enter the hospital premises. About three minutes later the ambulance left," he added.
"How can we admit a patient who has not come to the hospital? If anyone makes a false accusation, we will take legal action, he said further.
In the context of these allegations, assistant director of the health department (Sylhet divisional) Anisur Rahman said, "I have heard about the allegations. All hospitals have been instructed to treat Covid-19 patients. If you make a written complaint in this regard, we will investigate"