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Dhaka Tribune

RMCH struggles to treat kidney patients

The key equipment needed to assist kidney patients-- 20 out of 25 dialysis facilities at the specialised unit-- are out of order, and the only water filtration plant is also malfunctioning.

Update : 29 Apr 2020, 07:14 PM

Kidney patients-- among a population of around two crore in Rangpur and adjacent areas-- are largely dependent on the nephrology department of Rangpur Medical College Hospital (RMCH).

However, the key equipment needed to assist kidney patients-- 20 out of 25 dialysis machines at the specialised unit-- are out of order and the only water filtration plant is also malfunctioning.

Under these circumstances, the 25-bed nephrology ward of the hospital is only able to treat a patient for two hours at the facility, instead of the four hours required for the treatment process. Patients also have to leave soon after the process ends to make room for others.

This inadequate treatment is forcing many patients to transfer to other district hospitals and many are dying without proper treatment.

According to the hospital’s nephrology department, over 200 old patients and hundreds new have already registered for the service and they each need to come at least four days a week for the treatment.

But due to the shortage of machines, patients usually wait for two to three days and even if they get a treatment slot, they are only provided with two hours of service that is improper for their wellbeing.

The water plant unit in-charge, Mokhlesur Rahman, said that on an average, 60 kidney patients get dialysis service at the hospital on a daily basis. But the doctors have no way of treating these patients for four hours as hundreds more are always waiting, sometimes in severely critical need.

Seeking anonymity, a hospital official said, the water filtration plant used to provide 10 litres of water but now it only provides 4-5 litres, making the procedure more challenging and complex.

A field visit revealed that of the five active dialysis facilities, two are regularly malfunctioning.

Asked, Freedom Fighter Awal Uddin, a regular patient of the hospital, said he could use the facility for 1.5 hours to 2 hours instead of the full time and is suffering from breathing problems and other health difficulties due to this.

Asma Begum, a patient from Nilphamari said: “We wait 2-3 days for a treatment slot at the facility and when we finally get it, doctors leave us with a bare minimum of treatment.”

Quoting Asma, a college student from Rangpur, Aklima said: “If the hospital is not able to treat patients like us, they should hang a notice instead of keeping us waiting for days. We will die of improper treatment if this keeps happening.”

Upon anonymity, specialist doctors and nurses of the hospital said patients are only partially treated and that it can cost them their lives. The officials of the hospital have repeatedly asked the authorities to solve these problems but the situation remains unchanged, sources alleged.

Contacted, Director of RMCH, Faridul Islam, has acknowledged the problem and said: “We contacted the concerned authorities about the matter.”

However, the official could not provide a clear answer on how much time the process might take to end the life-threatening conditions the patients are facing at RMCH.

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