Home Bangladesh Dengue patients from nearby districts flock to DMCH as cases surge
Bangladesh - Health - August 5, 2023

Dengue patients from nearby districts flock to DMCH as cases surge

Staff Correspondent: Garment factory worker Ashraful Islam was diagnosed with dengue fever a few days ago in Narayanganj General (Victoria) Hospital. He was then shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital but with no vacancy, he initially failed to acquire some space even on the floor.
Later, he found an open space beside the staircase near the doctors’ recess room.
The fluid bag meant for Ashraful, 30, has been hung on the railings of the nearby stairs. His brother said they were at the DMCH for the last three days.
”Ashraful has been doing better after we brought him here. The doctors here have taken good care of him,” he said.
The Aedes mosquito-borne disease has become rampant in the country and the DMCH was struggling with the swelling number of patients, who were coming in from the nearby districts in addition to others from the capital.
The government hospitals in nearby districts and their Upazilas are sending over dengue patients in critical condition to the DMCH, a key public hospital with a history of tackling large numbers of patients at a time.
Hence, the floor, balconies, staircases, and any open space between two floors are swarming with patients. The patients and their families are spreading simple mats on the floor to sit on. The intravenous fluids used for the patients are hung on any elevated places available.
With the patients streaming in, the number of patients kept swelling as the DMCH hardly refuses to admit a patient with fever or other dengue symptoms like other government hospitals.
Also, the hospital has provisions for all types of medical tests, platelet transfusion, and ICU facilities needed for dengue patients, especially those in critical condition.
Besides, many patients mistake viral fevers for dengue and go to the DMCH fearing the worst.
”We provide treatment for dengue in the district hospitals and Upazila hospitals. When the platelet level drops significantly, or the patient is a pregnant woman or has severe complications, we refer them to be transferred as we don’t have intensive care facilities or a platelet transfusion system,” said Narayanganj Civil Surgeon Dr AFM Mushiur Rahman.
As Dhaka is not too far away, sometimes they discharge the patients who are willing to go there, he said.
Those who arrived with dengue symptoms were admitted to the sixth, seventh, and eighth floors of the medicine department.
Tenth-grader Sabbir Rahman Molla was treated at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka and returned to his village home in Gopalganj’sKotalipara. But as his fever returned and intensified, he was admitted to the KotaliparaUpazila Hospital.
Sabbir said the doctors referred him to the DMCH after he was diagnosed with dengue. He has been in Ward No. 702 of the hospital for the past few days.
With the Padma Bridge easing trips to Dhaka, many people were opting for better medical treatment at the capital, said Gopalganj Civil Surgeon DrNiaz Mohammad.
“We are trying to manage the dengue here in Gopalganj. Only one patient has died so far and all the others recovered and went home. We’re monitoring at the district and Upazila level so that none of the patients are shifted to other hospitals unless they are critically ill,” he said.
Mentioning that there might have been a couple of cases which were referred to Dhaka hospitals prematurely. “We’ll give the directives again to avoid such incidents. We want the patients and doctors to have a good understanding.”
Shakil Ahmed, a 17-year-old from Shariatpur’sGosairhat, is also receiving treatment at Ward No. 702 in DMCH. “They provide treatment in Upazila hospitals but it’s not so good. I didn’t recover there. So my father brought me here six days ago. I’m feeling better now. Only stomach pain and food aversion are still there.”
Another patient, Tania came from Mirpur 6 with a fever and stomach pain and was undergoing treatment in the same ward.
Tania’s husband Alauddin said they initially took her to another government hospital (Suhrawardy) on Wednesday but the hospital refused to admit her. They sent her back with a prescription. As her condition deteriorated at night, they brought Tania to the DMCH.
She started howling due to earable stomach pain when they brought her to the hospital, said Alauddin. ”I have a small job. Suhrawardy Hospital is a government-run one but they refused to provide treatment as there was no vacancy. Dhaka Medical never refuses to admit patients, so I brought her here.”
With the rising number of patients, the lab and bill collection booths are running at full capacity. Also, fewer counters in the lab and booths are operational on weekends, said DrRakib Al Imran, working in Ward No. 702. He said the number of helping hands in medical service also drops on weekends.
On weekdays, they get the blood test report for patients manifesting dengue symptoms within 3 to 4 hours but yesterday the report comes in the evening even if the test is done in the morning. “We can’t start the treatment for the disease until we have the report.”
Around 100 patients used to arrive at the medicine ward with fever and dengue symptoms every day, but it spiked to 200-250 patients a day, he said.
“Nowadays, people are terrified when they have a fever thinking it to be dengue. Patients from Dhaka and those from outside are struck with the same fear. We’re seeing more dengue patients streaming in from the nearby districts this week. So the number of patients has increased more than double what we usually see,” said Dr Al Imran.
A person may have dengue four times, he said. “Different types of dengue exist and the people of Dhaka experienced the first type. The second phase is currently ongoing. So, those patients with no major fluctuations in blood pressure or platelet are advised to stay at home. Only those who are at risk should be hospitalised.”
He mentioned some complications that existed in the medical tests for the patients. But the hospital has enough medical essentials in stock. The medical staff, however, are struggling with the rush of patients, Imran said.
A booth of Pubali Bank on the third floor of the new building of Dhaka Medical College Hospital collects the bill for medical tests. It has five counters. As the number of patients rose, attendants stood in line for two to three hours to deposit the bill.
Giasuddin, who said he was in the queue from 12:45 pm and at 2:30 pm, was halfway through it, he said.
“My son was admitted to the DMCH with dengue. He has recovered but the doctor advised a regular CBC test. I have been standing here in line for the past two hours.”
Dhaka South City Corporation staff member Swapan Kumar Das came to deposit the bill for a medical test of his daughter.
“The doctor asked her to do four medical tests and I’ve been in the queue here for more than two hours. The line doesn’t move.”
“The hospital can provide beds to the patients. But it’s not possible to provide them with beds when the number of patients is too high as it occupies more space. That’s the reason why we don’t provide beds when too many patients arrive,” said Brigadier General NazmulHaque, director of the hospital.
“We’ve already increased the number of pathology booths and will have more. But we lack space. We spoke to the PWD (Public Works Department) but they said they had no funds. They’ll work on it when they receive funds.”
The director added that two more billing booths will be added to receive medical bills at the emergency department and at the outdoor department.

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