Medicare goes haywire

A six-hour blackout paralysed the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) yesterday, causing immense suffering to patients and doctors.

Except for a few emergency services using generator, all pathological tests, scheduled operations and outdoor services remained snapped from 6:00am to 12:15pm when power supply resumed, hospital sources said.

The power outage happened when the hospital’s main power cable got burnt following an electric short circuit, BSMMU Director Brig Gen Abdul Majid Bhuiyan said.

He, however, said they did not face any major crisis. “We responded to the emergency cases using generator.”

Soon after the power blackout, the hospital buildings wore a deserted look as many patients and their attendants and nurses and doctors walked out of their rooms to take shelter on the compound and the adjacent roads as it got unbearably hot inside.

“It’s intolerable. I cannot take it anymore, I need some air,” said Minhaj Uddin, a neurosurgery patient, who was unable to move from his bed.

Relatives of the patients had to climb up and down the multi-storey building to get food, water and medicine, as the lifts were inoperative.

“We were out of water since morning. I had to climb down to the ground floor twice for water and medicine,” said Billal Hossain, an attendant of a patient at Intensive Care Unit on the ninth floor.

Patients and their relatives waited in queues for pathological tests in vain. Some did not get their operation schedules as the required tests were not done.

Earlier in the morning, doctors tried to provide outdoor service by candlelight.

“It’s impossible to examine cancer patients by candlelight,” said Fahmida Nazir, an outdoor medical officer. “Many have come from outside Dhaka. They cannot travel every day.”

The outdoor of the hospital is near the parking lot. Many outdoor patients left without taking treatment.

When the power supply resumed in the afternoon, scores crowded at different points to get treatment.

The BSMMU director said they are planning to add more generators to provide service in such situations.

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