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After waiting for an hour and a half there, Faruk took his father to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in an ambulance. After arriving there, he left his father in a room of the emergency unit and rushed to complete the admission process. He once returned, he saw his mother crying. He realised that his father was no more despite all his efforts.

Faruk is from Boalmari village of Chudanga Sadar upazila. The family left for the village with the dead body. Around 9.30pm Faruk was waiting for the ferry at Mawa ghat when he spoke to Prothom Alo over the phone, sobbing, “My father died in front of me. But I couldn’t get him admitted to any hospital….”

A total of 16,230 people were diagnosed with coronavirus on Wednesday. This is the first time in the last 16 months that the number of detected coronavirus cases crossed 16,000 in a day.

When asked about critical coronavirus patients being returned without treatment, Asim Kumar Nath, director of Mugda Medical College Hospital, told Prothom Alo, “The situation in our hospital has reached such a stage that we cannot admit any new patient. If we admit more, many of the already admitted patients would not get oxygen. We are compelled not to admit any new patient.”

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), there are 16 Covid dedicated hospitals in the capital. Of these, three hospitals do not have any ICU facilities. There was no empty ICU bed in nine of the remaining 13 Covid dedicated hospitals. There were empty beds in the rest four Covid dedicated hospitals.

And there are a total of 1,312 ICU beds in the country. Of these some 1,121 ICU beds were occupied Wednesday.

Coronavirus patients were seen rushing from one hospital to another for beds in Sylhet too.

Abu Taleb, 58, was admitted to a private hospital with symptoms of coronavirus. His sample test report came out positive on Wednesday. His relatives started to look for an ICU bed from noon as his condition deteriorated.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Yunus Ahmad, one of his relatives said he has searched for an ICU bed in three adjacent private hospitals. However, there was no unoccupied ICU bed. Therefore, they are keeping the patient stable for the time being by providing him with oxygen. If ICU bed cannot be arranged any time soon, the condition of the patient may deteriorate.

Saiful Islam, marketing officer of North East Hospital in the South Surma area of Sylhet, said they have a total of 32 ICU beds and 68 general beds for the treatment of coronavirus patient. All of them are occupied now. As a result, they are forced to send back many who came for treatment.

The marketing officer of Mount Adora Hospital in Akhalia, Sylhet, said they have a total of 64 beds including 9 ICU beds. All of them are occupied.

He said, “My wife was admitted in the isolation ward too. Later she needed to be shifted to the ICU. However, all the ICU beds were occupied. Later, one of the patients in the ICU died and my wife was shifted to that bed on Tuesday night.”

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According to the DGHS, there are a total of 22 ICU beds in the seven Covid dedicated hospitals in Sylhet. All of the ICU beds were occupied on Wednesday. There are 33 ICU beds in four government hospitals in Chattogram. Of them 25 were occupied on Wednesday. There are a total of 77 ICU beds in Khulna. Of them, only four were unoccupied on Wednesday. Among the 58 ICU beds in 10 government hospitals in Rajshahi, only nine were vacant. Of the 33 ICU beds in seven government hospitals in Barishal division, some 11 were unoccupied.

Figures of DGHS and reality

According to the figures provided by the DGHS on Wednesday, some 75 beds were vacant in the Mugda Medical College. However, the hospital authorities hanged a notice on Tuesday afternoon stating that there was not vacant bed.

Abdur Zahed came to the hospital yesterday afternoon to admit his wife Nasrin Sultana. He came here on a motorcycle with his wife tied to his body with her scarf. But the hospital authorities informed him that it was not possible to admit her as there was no unoccupied bed.

After waiting for a while, Zahed tied Nasreen to his body with a scarf and took her to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). He had to return from there too. Hospital authorities said there was no empty bed.

Later, Zahed came to know from a person that the DNCC coronavirus hospital in Mohakhali has some unoccupied beds and took his wife there. Finally, he was able to get his wife admitted.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Abdur Zahed said, “I have wandered from one hospital to another for hours for a general bed. The situation I have faced should not happen to anyone else.”

According to the DGHS, some 34 beds in BSMMU have been shown to be vacant. However, speaking to Prothom Alo over the phone, Brigadier General Nazrul Islam, the director of the hospital, said, “At the moment, it is not possible to admit any patient who will need oxygen.”

Regarding the inconsistency of DGHS’ information on the number of unoccupied beds of various hospitals, additional director general of DGHS, Nasima Sultana told Prothom Alo over the phone on Wednesday that the DGHS issues the daily update based on the data provided by the hospitals on the vacancy and occupancy of their beds. But this information is 24 hours old.

There are a total of 750 beds at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for the treatment of Covid patients, according to the DGHS. Of them four were unoccupied on Wednesday.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Wednesday, Brigadier General Nazmul Haque, director of DMCH, said, “Such is the pressure of the coronavirus patients that it has become very difficult to admit patients even in general beds. A new patient is being admitted only if an old patient is released from the hospital. All the beds are filled all the time and the ICU beds are never unoccupied.”

As many as 473 beds of DNCC Covid-19 dedicated hospital were shown unoccupied. However, its director brigadier general AKM Nasir told Prtohom Alo that the unoccupied beds do not have the central oxygen supply facility. It has become difficult to treat patients who need oxygen all the time.

*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu

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