Thursday, August 13, 2020 | ePaper

Healthcare Bitter Experience In This Covid Time

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Now we are passing through hardship, suffering, agony and uncertainty. Everyday the ongoing pandemic over the living planet piles the heap of unexpected deaths and most of the relatives of these corpses are apathetic to receive the dead-bodies for the proper funerals. On the opposite corner, the employees of private companies face the new challenges in their gyratory lives. The employers are nonchalant to their employees; their negligible responsibility and self-centred approach make the living planet more cryptic, intolerant and frustrated where tranquility, appeasement, serenity and humanitarian essence are unavailable. We suppose the self-rectification, self- realisation and the essence of self-salvation will happen catastrophically among the human races during this destructive global disaster but it is not exactly bringing any change in the nature of human characters.
Few days along with my ailing father in the well-known medical college hospital of the Southern part of our country gave me a vivid picture of the fragility and dereliction of our medical services. After Eid celebration, my father suddenly felt severe ill, all of his hoarded food in the stomach was belched out through vomiting and his digestive function was not effective. Hurrily he was given primary treatment and  sent to the Upazilla Health Complex. There he was not treated in accordance with his disease. Under the surveillance of the doctor at Upazilla Heath Complex, he was basically deteriorated in the name of observation. He was referred to Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital for improved and proper treatment. When my father was referred to the giant hospital, I was there along with him till death. I have a great respect to this noble profession and I feel revered for those who restlessly treat the patients, consult them and try to make them heal.
One of my readings, I have learnt that the noblest profession in the world is to treat the patients from the time immemorial. No profession can drab its glittering radiance, no progression can demean its lofty position. A surgeon who utilises his/her sharpening and keen bisecting utensils on the patients has a pair of eagle's eyes, a lion's heart and a lady's fingers. These three qualities of a surgeon give him/her the perfection of surgery. Before going to the operation theatre, my father ordered me to give an amount of tip to the trolley bearers. My father did not hasitate, feel terrified and disagree to embed himself on the threatening table where he was bisected with the sharpening knives. I knew that the operation was too risky to render himself with a living soul. Before his operation, I signed on the bond as a guardian of my father. I took all the liabilities of certainty and uncertainty. During operation my father's heart failed, the circulation of blood in his brain stopped.  By the doctors' restless efforts, my father's heart function was rendered.
The doctor declared that the possibility of his living was on the time frame. If his sense came back within seventy two hours, the expectation of his living would be more possible. Seventy two hours passed, the ups and downs of his breathings became slow and he lost his last breath in the post operative ward after the few hours aforementioned. I was roaming to collect my father's death certificate; I collected it and I kept it in my book-pocket during the travel to my ancestral village along with the dead body.
My observations during my father's treatment at this largest hospital shocked me, terrified me and I faced a miserable reality there. The bitter scenes that I observed there had a monstrous countenance. Firstly, the catastrophic pandemic of the contagious virus (Covid-19) has detrimental impact on the whole medical services. For this catastrophic pandemic, all focuses and concentrations have been paid to this contagious disease though no curing medicine, vaccine and proper treatment are available to combat this pandemic. Social distancing (physical distancing) and awareness are the basic remedies to face this catastrophic challenge. During this unavoidable situation, the treatment of other diseases are not properly addressed in this hospital. This pandemic has hampered the general treatment of other diseases.
Secondly, the unavailability of doctors in this giant hospital which is the only reliable shelter for patients disheartened me. The doctors visit the respective wards and prescribe the patients spending two or three hours. Consultancy hours and days of the doctors and the service days of the nurses have been shortened than the previous. During the emergency treatment, I watched that the serious patients had to stay for long time waiting for the doctors. The patients who stayed at different wards did not found the doctors when the patients' health conditions became worsened. In the name of coronavirus, the exacerbating patients had to suffer more for the unavailability of the doctors. Thirdly, the etiquette, approach and behaviour of the nurses were different when they nursed the patients. Absence of the professionalism, irresponsibility and arrogance are severe among the nurses during this catastrophic situation. They feel hasitated to touch the patients during their services at the hospital. Fourthly, the different diagnostic tests of the patients are unavailable there. The patients have to go for their tests to the private diagnostics, clinics, and medical centres those arise as the mushroom growth near the public hospital. Sometimes the private medical technicians enter into the giant public hospital along with their equipment for patients' tests on the basis of patients' requirement. I watched that a private medical technician along with the ECG equipment entered into this giant hospital and measured the patient's heartbeats with this equipment.
The free medicines allotted for the patients in the hospital are not distributed properly. Stock of the free medicines is available in the hospital but the patients are suggested to buy these medicines from the pharmaceutical stores. I had to buy some expensive medicines from the pharmaceutical stores during my father's treatment though the supply of those medicines was available in the hospital. Finally, the service of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the patients of other diseases rather than the ICU of Covid 19 positive patients is unavailable and the hygiene practices in the hospital are miserable and poor. The unavailability of personal protective equipment, masks, hand gloves and other logistic supports for the medical personnel and nurses make them indifferent to their professions. During my father's treatment at this hospital, the doctor referred my father to the general ICU but the responsible doctors did not received him showing the lame excuse of the shortage of manpower.
Awareness, isolation, quarantine, lockdown and hygiene practices are the obligatory terms to combat the recent pandemic though none of these terms is related to medical services. To implement these obligations among the people, the government and the other organs of the state must be stern; national unity, dynamic leadership in the health administration and strong and effective management systems must be applied for the restoration of normalisation from this catastrophy. Recently WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, "The world is in desperate need of national unity and global solidarity. The politicisation of the pandemic has exacerbated it...The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it's the lack of global solidarity and global leadership."

(Emamul Islam is Lecturer, Department of English, Global University Bangladesh).

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