First doctor dies of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Delay in bringing him to Dhaka blamed

Zaman Monir . Sylhet | Published: 11:25, Apr 15,2020 | Updated: 23:10, Apr 15,2020


Moyeen Uddin

Sylhet Osmani Medical College assistant professor Moyeen Uddin died of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning.

Moyeen, 50, was tested positive for coronavirus on April 5 while treating COVID-19 patients at the hospital.

He died at Kurmitula General Hospital in Dhaka at about 6:45am Wednesday, said Directorate General of Health Services director general Abul Kalam Azad.

He was the first doctor in Bangladesh to have died of novel coronavirus infection.

Health minister Zahid Maleque expressed his condolences over the demise of Moyeen.

He said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina was shocked at the death of the physician, who left behind two minor children and his physician wife.

He ensured that the government would take the responsibility of Moyeen’s family.

Moyeen, a graduate of Dhaka Medical College, was a medicine and cardiology specialist.

Colleagues of Moyeen alleged that despite being a doctor in government health services, he was not properly taken care of.

After he was tested positive with COVID-19 on April 5, he was kept in home quarantine at his Sylhet residence.

He was shifted to Shaheed Shamsuddin Ahmed Hospital in the city at about 10:30pm on April 8 as his condition deteriorated.

‘The hospital dedicated for COVID-19 patients in Sylhet is not yet ready to treat such critical patient which immediately required ICU support,’ said assistant professor Jahirul Islam, a colleague of Dr Moyeen.

He said Moyeen’s lung infection took a serious turn due to delay in reaching Dhaka by an ambulance having no ICU facility.

On April 9, Moyeen was taken to the Kurmitola General Hospital according to the wish of his family and he died there while he was undergoing treatment at an intensive care unit.

Colleagues of Dr Moyeen questioned the overall management of the health department for providing treatment to a doctor in such an emergency.

They said that Moyeen was not treated properly at Shaheed Shamsuddin Ahmed Hospital because of insufficient logistic support alongside shortage of necessary specialist physicians.

‘Apart from specialist anaesthetist, central oxygen supply system is a must to keep a ventilator machine functioning. But, the SSAH was running with only four oxygen cylinders as an alternative to the central oxygen supply,’ a colleague of Moyeen said.

SSAH is being run as an extended part of Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital.

His colleagues further alleged that the health department did not even provide an air-ambulance or an ICU ambulance to carry him to Dhaka.

‘Injuries in the lungs of Moyeen became intensified while he was being shifted to Dhaka by a normal ambulance,’ said another colleague.

Sylhet civil surgeon Premananda Mandal, however, ruled out the allegations of proving improper treatment to Moyeen.

He claimed that they had contacted the higher authority to provide an air-ambulance for urgently shift Moyeen to Dhaka.

‘The authority had told us that the air-ambulance was carrying another COVID-19 patient at that time and at least 10 more hours were needed to prepare it to carry another patient,’ he said.

But, the civil surgeon said, Moyeen’s family members did not agree to wait for 10 hours.

Premananda said that there was no ICU ambulance in any government institution in Sylhet.

DGHS senior officials, including director for hospitals and the director general, did not respond to phone calls.

DGHS additional director general Nasima Sultana declined to comment on the allegation.

Bangladesh Medical Association in a release expressed condolences over the death of Moyeen.

Its general secretary Ehteshamul Huq Chowdhury Dulal said that Moyeen would be buried at the graveyard of his ancestral home at Nadampur village of Chhatak upazila in Sunamganj according to the choice of his family members.

Progressive Doctors Forum condemned what it said the government’s ‘irresponsible behaviour’ for not arranging an ICU ambulance for Dr Moyeen.

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