Yunus Talukder from Chandpur was rushed to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) on July 20 as he felt a sudden pain on his chest.
He was diagnosed with coronary blocks, and subsequently got himself admitted to the hospital upon doctor's advice.
Four days and four nights went by since his admittance to the hospital. During that time, he was treated for his ailment on a mattress in the veranda, in front of the hospital's men's ward.
He is yet to get a bed in the hospital, since all the hospital beds are occupied.
The patient's son, Shahadat, said doctors also visit his father in the veranda, where he receives treatment. Shahadat further said the doctor advised his father to undergo angiogram, while doubting whether his father will get a bed or not after the angiogram.
Abdul Latif, another cardiac patient from Narsingdi, was admitted to NICVD's Coronary Care Unit (CCU). When his condition improved, he was transferred to the men's ward where his situation got even worse than that of Yunus.
Latif did not find any space even in the veranda. Not knowing what to do, Baby Akhter, his wife, made a makeshift bed on the staircase in front of the ward.
Baby told The Business Standard the doctors continue treating her husband on the stairs. They are providing him with medicines but have not been able to arrange a bed.
Bed inadequacy adds to patients' problems
Around 100 patients receive treatment in open spaces of the hospital premises every day. They spend their days in doctors' chambers, on staircases, and wherever they get empty spaces.
Doctors and nurses also suffer, as they are obliged to provide treatment to a large number of patients in open places, in addition to patients in beds.
NICVD physicians told this correspondent that the patients catch flu and cold for sleeping on the floor in open spaces.
They said it is difficult for them to properly monitor these scattered patients.
NICVD authorities said the 414-bed hospital has the highest rate of bed occupancy among the specialised hospitals in the country.
According to the 2018 Health Bulletin released by the Health Directorate, NICVD's bed occupancy rate is 191.5 percent.
As it is the only specialised public hospital, a large number of patients visit it every day to receive low-cost treatments. The hospital provides ecosprin, a medication used to treat pain, fever, or inflammation, for free.
NICVD Director Professor Afzalur Rahman told this correspondent that the hospital never let any patient leave untreated.
"We cannot provide bed to all patients but those who are staying in open spaces are also receiving treatment. This is a facility that no other hospital provides," he said.
"Although it is not possible to provide complete treatment for all the patients who failed to get a bad, they are not entirely deprived of healthcare at least. These patients will continue receiving treatment on the floor until the hospital authority increases the number of beds," said Professor Afzalur.
He also said the authority has a plan for increasing the number of beds to 1,200 by the end of this year after making it an eight-storey hospital.
Number of cardiac patients rising
The situation at the hospital indicates that people are having cardiac problems in increasing numbers.
According to a study by the World Health Organisation, cardiac condition is responsible for 30 percent of the deaths caused by various diseases in Bangladesh.
When asked about the reasons behind the rise in cardiac diseases, Professor Sohel Reza Chowdhury, head of Epidemiology and Research Department of National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, said poor food habits and sedentary lifestyle are mainly responsible for the rise in heart diseases, high blood pressure and other non-communicable diseases.
"Change in lifestyle and modifying food habits can help people deal with the problem," he added.
NICVD sources said 568 open heart surgeries, 1,949 vascular surgeries, and a total of 10,574 coronary angiograms, cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention were performed in the hospital in 2018.
Around 2,83,605 people received outdoor treatment in that year.