Heart patients have been suffering extremely at the coronary care unit (CCU) of the Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH), due to limited capacity, cardiologists and machinery to handle the overcrowding of patients.
There are only 60 seats at the hospital for heart patients where sometimes 200 to 270 patients receive treatment, hospital sources said.
Moreover, there are insufficient cardiac monitors and one of the two C-Arm machines of the cath lab is out of order for six months compelling the incoming patients to wait in a long queue to get treatment.
Hospital sources said there are 16 cardiac monitors at the cardiology department which monitors the heart rate, breathing rate, ECG, blood pressure and oxygen saturation of the patients.
The patient flow at the hospitals' cardiology department is excessive as they come not only from Chattogram but also the surrounding districts of Bhola, Noakhali, Cumilla and Lakshmipur.
The Chattogram Medical College and Hospital authorities have the second-largest heart department after the national cardiovascular institute in Dhaka. They even could not utilize the CCU-02 unit properly which was established in 2019 for Tk25 lakh with the support of a corporate organization.
The CCU-02 had 15 cardiac monitors, central AC, washroom facilities. With 31 cardiac monitors in two CCU units, the cardiology department was operating well after the inauguration of the second unit in 2019. But 10 of the cardiac monitors were taken for the Covid red zone in 2020 which were never returned to CCU-02 even in two years.
When asked, Registrar of the cardiology department Dr Laxmipada Das told The Business Standard that there are 13 government-approved seats in the CCU and 47 in the post CCU unit. But the number of admitted patients ranges between 200 and 270.
Cardiology department head Prof Dr Ashis Dey said the number of patients is more than capacity, combined with a shortage of doctors. Some of the assistant professors have been attached with additional responsibilities.
Regarding the dysfunctional C-Arm machine, he said that they had sent a letter to the ministry to repair the machine. The warranty of the machine has expired. Huge money is required to repair the machine.
He also assured of installing new monitors after the new director takes charge.
Treatment of the cardiac patients including an angiogram, installing pacemaker and stenting is done through the C-Arm machine.
Sushmita Saha, a school teacher from Chattogram, told TBS that there is huge pressure at the cath lab as one of the C-Arm machines is not working.
"My father was diagnosed with three major blocks. He was supposed to undergo surgery on 19 December for stenting but we got a schedule on 26 December. After waiting for the whole day, nothing happened, ultimately we got a chance on 27 December," she said.
Hospital sources said two assistant professors are working as senior physicians as an additional responsibility, 11 associate professors and four assistant registrars totalling 18 along with 53 nurses are working in the cardiology department. But an important unit like the CCU requires senior physicians.
During a visit, it was found that in an extremely overcrowded unit, there are 18 cardiac monitors at CCU-02 with patients lying on the floor. Several patients' heart situation has to be monitored with a single monitor.
The CCU-02 has been turned into a general unit after 10 monitors were shifted to the Covid red zone.