Low turnout at hospitals on Wednesday was not a cause to rejoice, as patients were not healthy but struggling to get there.
Asma Akhter brought her father Abdus Sattar, who suffers from a brain related disease, from Noakhali to Dhaka Medical College Hospital on the day.
While it took her six hours to reach Kanchpur bridge in Narayanganj from Noakhali, Asma had to spend four hours to travel the final 14km, from the bridge to DMCH. She was travelling in an ambulance.
Asma and her father’s case was not an unusual one, as heavy rain caused traffic congestion throughout Dhaka, leaving many attempting to go for treatment trapped on the roads.
Samsul Islam, a heart patient, left his house in Banasree, Rampura, to consult with a doctor as his pain was increasing. After a three and a half hour journey, he arrived at the Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in Agargaon eight kilometers away only to find the doctor yet to arrive.
“My father was scheduled to meet a doctor at around 2pm in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, but the doctor is not here yet,” Fazlur Rahman, who was in Dhaka from Jamalpur to see the doctor, told this correspondent around 5pm.
Another patient admitted to NICVD also told the Dhaka Tribune that, having gone there for an angiogram, they found no doctors as they were stranded in traffic.
Duty doctors at the hospital have denied the allegation, with DMCH Emergency Room Doctor Jasmin Nahar saying that there were fewer patients than on a normal day but all doctors were present and providing treatment.
According to DMCH records, 178 patients were admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, while 41 patients from police cases were recorded from 12:00am to 5:30pm. Usually, the number of admissions is closer to 350.