Five children were among the injured
Nine people, including five children, were injured when chunks of the ceiling plaster broke off and fell on them at Noakhali General Hospital.
The incident occurred in the children’s ward around 7am on Wednesday.
The injured included child patients and their guardians. They were identified as two-month-old Rafi, Ismail, 5, Imam Uddin, 5, Sumaiya, 12, Rasel, 16, Md Ibrahim, 50, Parul Begum, 47, Badsha, 35, and Rozina Begum, 20.
Hospital Resident Medical Officer Syed Mohiuddin said: “The injured are being given treatment, and the other patients have been transferred to one of the new buildings.”
"The plastered ceiling at the children's ward had collapsed once before in 2008. It has been a recurring problem since then, injuring children, nurses and doctors alike," said Dr Khalil Ullah, the hospital's superintendent.
After being informed, firefighters rushed to the scene and evacuated everyone from the ward, Maijdee fire station officer Md Humayun said.
The hospital has around 40 beds allocated for children, but at the time of the incident, around 60 children were receiving treatment there. Also, even though the hospital has 250 beds, around 600 patients were admitted, said hospital sources.
According to the sources, the three old hospital buildings are all risky, but due to lack of space, patients continue to be treated there.
In 2015, the three dilapidated buildings, including the children’s ward, were declared abandoned and in 2018, a letter was sent to the hospital authorities warning them of the consequences of continuing to treat patients there, said Kamrul Hasan, executive engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD).
However, Dr Khalil Ullah said that they only received a notification that the buildings were risky and PWD did some renovation work six months ago.
The hospital is about 47 years old, presumed to have been established back in 1972. Since then, the infrastructure has only seen some simple renovations, such as adding tiled floors and air conditioning, but no major structural development.