Hospitals have a solemn responsibility to look after their patients, even in the holiday season.
That is why it is so utterly unacceptable that at least 40 patients were left to die at Sher-e-Bangla Medical College in Barisal from a lack of medical attention after most of their doctors, including interns, went on holiday.
This is gross negligence bordering on criminal. What is worse is that the hospital broke its promise -- it had earlier announced that it would provide “uninterrupted treatment” and have 10 doctors on duty over the Eid-ul-Azha holidays, but only three could be found.
Employees have every right to take leave, but the way this particular occasion was handled at Sher-e- Bangla Medical College was inexcusable, with most staff being absent without giving prior notice.
Doctors swear an oath to help their patients, and this oath stands 365 days a year. For a country that aspires to be on the road to development, our health care system has a lot of answering to do.
In a nation with such a large labour force, it is not excusable for a shortage of workers, especially given the gravity of the responsibility. Better management and accountability can fix this problem.
Incidences such as this cause people to seek out expensive medical treatment in foreign shores, and give our country’s institutions a bad name.
One of the most important rules of the Hippocratic Oath is “first, do no harm.” It is time our doctors started taking those words seriously.