Patients suffer as CMCH burn unit lacks ICU facilities
08 November 2015, Nirapad News: Burn patients have to face untold sufferings in absence of a full-fledged and dedicated Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Burn and Plastic Surgery unit of Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH).
Physicians said they faced difficulties while delivering services to patients as critical patients from other departments of the hospital also come to the lone10-bed general ICU.
Launched on January 3, 2008 with only 13 beds, the Burn and Plastic Surgery unit at the CMCH is now running with 26 beds.
The doctors at the unit alleged that although the number of beds had increased over the years, other healthcare facilities not increased as per requirement.
“Patients coming from different parts of greater Chittagong come to receive healthcare services at the unit with electric, flame, scald, chemical and other injuries. At the time of winter and political unrest, the unit witnesses an increasing number of patients,” said Dr Mrinal Kanti Das, associate professor and in-charge of the Burn and Plastic Surgery unit of the CMCH.
Dr Das said: “A burn unit must be equipped with an ICU as treatment for burn injuries is altogether different. Patients with respiratory organ injuries badly need ICU support. A patient is considered critical when he or she receives more than 20% burn injuries. Delayed treatment in case of patients with serious injuries could turn critical. On some occasions we are left with no other option but to send the critical patients to Dhaka.”
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, eminent burn specialist Dr Samanta Lal Sen said a Burn Unit could not function properly in absence of a full-fledged and dedicated Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“We have to keep in mind that the first 24 hours for any patient with serious burn injuries is very critical and lack of timely proper treatment might even result in deaths. The form and nature of treatment for a burn patient is totally different from any other disease treatment.
“The importance of establishing ICUs outside Dhaka is undeniable. We have left no stone unturned to set up an ICU in the CMCH as Chittagong is the second largest city after Dhaka. We had also come up with a proposal to set up a full-fledged burn unit at the city’s Railway Hospital, but in vain. Apart from Chittagong, burn units should be set up with ICU facilities in every medical college hospital as that will help reduce the influx of patients coming to the capital.”
It may be mentioned that a significant number of burn patients who come to CMCH with burn injuries are workers at different ship-breaking yards in Chittagong.
“Recently we have paid a visit to the burn unit to see the injured ship-breakers and to see for ourselves the state of healthcare services delivered by the physicians. Regrettably, we have found that the unit is not well-equipped to deliver quality services,” said Tapan Datta, convener of Ship-breaking Workers’ Trade Union Forum.
He said they had found that the burn patients were forced to make beds on the floor and in corridors due to shortage of space. Moreover, there was no dedicated ICU support for the burn patients in the unit. There was air-conditioning facility at the burn unit to ease the sufferings of the patients.
“Most of the burn patients like ship-breaking workers hail from low-income background. Therefore, most patients with burn injuries cannot afford the astronomical cost of treatment at a privately-run burn hospital or travelling all the way to Dhaka. We will urge the Health Ministry to allocate sufficient budget so that the unit could deliver services properly,” said the labour rights activist.