Zahid Al Amin and Tasnuva Jahan
23rd June 2020 – it was about 23 hours in Hatiya. Most of the inhabitants of the remote island in the Bay of Bengal have already gone to deep sleep. But doctor Nizam was awake. After one more a hard-working day, Dr. Nizam has reached the limit of fatigue. Since the morning, Dr. Nizam Uddin Mizan, Medical Officer of Hatiya Upazila Health Complex has visited more than 20 corona positive patient’s houses. He gave them medicines, advice as well as for instructions for quarantine.
So that the doctor was planning to take off. So that he came to his room and removed his Personal Protection Equipments (PPE). When he has just thrown himself into the bed, a phone call stopped him to sleep. A critical patient is waiting for treatment. Saying goodbye to his bed, the doctor again runs to respond to the emergency call of the patient.
The patients were in very critical condition. He found the patient was having severe shortness of breath. Oxygen levels were very low. He sent his assistant to the Public Health Complex to bring an oxygen cylinder. Within a short while, the oxygen saturation increased to 96 percent. But after removing the oxygen, the patient’s oxygen saturation decreased immediately. So he decided to transfer the patient to nearby Hatiya Health Complex. Though his duty time was finished, he spent a few more hours in the hospital to bring the patient back to normal.
When he attempted to go home, he found a boy, who was sitting on the street in front of the hospital with his father’s body in his arms. He was screaming for help to save his father’s life. He looked around, and there was no one to help. It was almost midnight.
Dr. Nizam quickly checked the patient’s pulse but didn’t find the pulse rate. Then he laid the patient on the street and started giving Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). After a while, he got a pulse rate. No matter how tired he was, he is still continuing CPR.
Since the afternoon he was wearing on the heavy PPE, he covered his face with surgical mask. He was also having breathing problems with tiredness. Dr. Nizam needed some help and got the mystical hand of the poor boy to give CPR. One thing was certain, that the boy was determined to save his father’s life. As on the spur of the moment, observing the doctor’s activities, he also learned how to give CPR.
Dr. Nizam was observing the patient sitting next to him. Suddenly, the patient’s eyes became stable. Then he quickly checked the pulse rate. Finally, the patient left his last breath in front of his eyes. The boy was still giving the CPR to save his father’s life. Dr. Nizam put his hand gently on the boy’s shoulder. The boy turned his face to the doctor. Then quickly to his father’s face. His hands became still. Silently, the ill-fated boy endured the bitterest experience in his early life. He got the message that his father Paban Das (50) will never open his eyes. Paban Das was also a Corona suspected patient, but the result of his diagnosis yet to be reached to Hatiya from the laboratory.
An unidentified local people took a picture that went viral in social media. The picture shows Dr. Nizam is sitting hopelessly in front of the dead body on the street of Hatia Upazila Health Complex. He is sitting in front of the Corpses of Bangladesh instead of a human body.
While talking to this correspondent over the telephone on 27th June, Dr. Nizam Uddin Mizan said that despite his best efforts, he could not save his patient Paban Das. Our hospital does not have ventilator facilities. Maybe he could have been saved if he had ventilator support. Even, if the patient had come a little earlier and if we had tried a little more maybe he could have been saved. The regret of not being able to save him will be remaining for long.
It is noted that the size of the island is 2100 square kilometers. There are only four doctors for 452863 inhabitants in Hatia. Only one doctor is assigned to every 11321 patients. There are 31 posts lying vacant for doctors. Because of the remote island, doctors are not interested to work there, so that patients are deprived of the treatment and medication support.
There is not a ventilation system, no intensive care unit in the hospital. Even there is no Covid-19 testing facility. If a patient came to the hospital with the corona symptom, the doctor collects the sample and sends it to Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. After waiting 10 to 15 days, patients get the result.
Moreover, the government of Bangladesh has planned to relocate 1.1 thousands of Rohingya who have spent years in refugee camps near the Myanmar border to Bhashan Char Island as the region faces a human-trafficking crisis. The Bhashan Char is also under this Hatiya Upazila (Sub-District).
According to the health ministry of Bangladesh, till Monday (13th July 2020) morning, Bangladesh has a total 186,894. The number of death is 2,391 while some 98,317 are recovered.
The Corona pandemic will end one day. But will anyone remember the doctor heroes, who have sacrificed their best to fight against the deadly virus?