Fire spreads quickly in the dry weather of winter
The number of burn patients in Dhaka hospitals has doubled during the past week at the onset of winter, terrifying doctors.
Part of the reason is fire spreads quickly in the dry weather that winter provides.
“If patients keep coming at this rate, soon we won’t be able to accommodate them,” said Dr Perth Shankar Pal, a physician at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.
A visit to the hospital on Friday revealed patients in all but five or six beds under observation in the emergency department.
When nurses and ward boys were asked why so many patients were under observation, they responded that regular beds were already occupied due the increased inflow of patients. Once they vacate, some of the patients will be moved.
On condition of anonymity, a doctor at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) said that it has recently been observed that burn patients were being directly transferred to Dhaka from outer districts without receiving any treatment there first, even though the hospitals responsible for the transfers are supposed to have their own burn units.
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According to the doctor, the institute has 500 beds in total, 300 of which are free. Since many of the beds are occupied by patients with prolonged diseases, new patients often have to be turned away. At present, more than 400 patients are admitted at the unit.
Many patients, including burnt children, women and men, were rushing to the hospital from remote areas of Bangladesh, only to find that there are empty beds, said Dr Perth Shankar Pal.
Although there is usually an increase in the number of burn patients in the winter, the hospital is seeing a record number of patients this time around.
In response to a question about what can be done if the number of burn patients increases, a resident doctor said that there is no rule for admitting patients outside the bed in any institute. Authorities have been informed about the increase in the number of patients. If they allow, patients may even receive treatment while lying on the floor in case of emergencies.
When asked about the reason for the sudden increase in the number of burn patients, he said that other than drier conditions, increased use of hot water and fire for keeping warm is responsible. He urged the media to increase public awareness campaigns on related activities to mitigate the problem.