No new recruitment has been made since the ICU was established in 2016
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical College (BSMMC) hospital in Faridpur has been dealing with an influx of patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The number of doctors allocated to the unit is insufficient, and no new recruits have been made since the ICU opened in 2016, according to hospital officials.
When this correspondent visited the hospital, he saw that all of the first-class positions for the 16-bed advanced ICU were vacant.
As per the rules, the ICU unit should have had one assistant professor, two junior consultants, two assistant registrars and two medical officers but only Ananta Kumar Biswas, assistant professor of the anaesthesia department, given the additional role of in-charge of the ICU.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when all ICU beds are occupied with Covid patients, medical services have been significantly hampered due to a lack of manpower.
According to sources, the 250-bed hospital has recently been upgraded to a 517-bed treatment facility. Many critical patients come here for treatment from the nine upazilas of the district and even from neighbouring districts.
The specialised unit has only nine doctors. There are 16 ICUs, but no specialists to manage those. The effectiveness of the intensive care units has been questioned by patients due to the lack of experienced and trained nurses to tend to those patients.
Zuthika Biswas, a nurse of the ICU beds of the unit, said: "It is impossible to manage the ICUs with a small number of staff members. We are trying our best and giving importance to work before any personal problems. However, that is not a solution. There is no substitute for sufficient manpower to run the hospital."
Dr Ananta Kumar Biswas said: "Twenty-four doctors should be on duty. But now there are only nine doctors working, and there are more patients than before. It is impossible to run a hospital with a shortage of staff. We have told the authorities about the urgent need for manpower but did not receive any help."
He added that the government had recently appointed four medical officers here. Four other upazila level medical officers work from the civil surgeon's office. Those who are on duty here have to go to quarantine after a certain period of time as per the rules. For this, only one rostered medical officer could work outside the in-charge.
“As a result, patients and doctors have to face many problems,” he said.
BSMMC Hospital Director, Md Saifur Rahman said the ICU of the hospital has been kept open with an assistant professor of the Anaesthesia Department considering the situation of patients.
“Despite the lack of manpower, we are providing the highest level of service possible with the limited manpower. If manpower was deployed in this critical period, the lives of more people could be saved.”
The number of ICU beds at the Covid dedicated BSMMC hospital is very inadequate compared to the larger number of patients in the southwest. If the government would add more ICU beds and manpower, it would have benefited more patients, the director said.