Sunday, May 19, 2024

Treatment eludes patients in Khagrachhari

Most clinics illegal, lack expertise
Jasim Majumder, Khagrachhari
At least 32 unregistered clinics and pathological laboratories have continued operating illegally in eight upazilas under Khagrachhari hill district and cashing in on patients’ plight allegedly in collusion with a section of government doctors and nurses.
Of the 41 clinics in the hill district, only nine are registered while the others are operating without government authorisation or license, said sources at Khagrachhari Civil Surgeon’s Office.
Even most of the registered clinics or pathological laboratories conduct operations or tests for which they do not have any valid certification from the concerned authorities.
Doctors of government hospitals allegedly get commission for sending patients to such pathological laboratories, diagnostic centres and clinics, said several government officials.
A section of doctors at government hospitals often advise patients to go to certain clinics, pathological labs or diagnostic centres for ‘better treatment’ and innocent patients fall victim to the malpractice of the unscrupulous people.
A government doctor gets commission ranging from 30 to 35 percent of the money the patient spends at private clinics. Other staff members get between 10 to 15 percent for sending a patient, they said.
Brokers approach patients at government hospitals, even at their houses to take them to private clinics, sources said.
Brokers enjoy free access to the government hospitals and health complexes while a section of nurses and other staff at the government hospitals also work as brokers, said several patients and their attendants.
During this correspondent’s visit to a private clinic in Khagrachhari town, a few patients said they had spent a lot of money for ‘seemingly unnecessary’ diagnostics tests but they did not get proper treatment.
The clinic had no registered doctors or trained nurses and there was lack of necessary instruments, they said.
During this correspondent’s visit to Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital, a few brokers admitted that they are paid to entice patients to private clinics.
“As doctors are also involved in process, I do not believe it unethical,” said broker Nizam Uddin.
“I get Tk 200 to 250 from the clinic owner for luring each patient. It is the only means to maintain my family,” said another broker Sahajan.
During a drive on July 10 last year, a mobile court led by Executive Magistrate Mohammad Kawsar Hossen fined 10 pharmacies and sealed off two pathological laboratories that were operating illegally.
However, the closed laboratories started operation again through managing the government officials although they do not have experienced technicians, sources said.
To operate labs and clinics, authorities should recruit trained technicians who must have three years’ diploma degree and one year’s practical experience or five years’ practical experience, Executive Magistrate Kaosar Hossen said.
The illegal clinics in Khagrachhari are not only depriving people of expected treatment but also make them vulnerable to malaria, jaundice, typhoid or Aids as same instruments are used twice, thrice or more, while sterilisation is not properly done, sources said.
The clinic owners’ malpractices including wrong diagnosis, wrong treatment and wrong suggestion might be the cause of death or permanent disability, said a doctor from Khagrachhari army region seeking anonymity.
When asked, Residential Medical Officer (RMO) of Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital Dr BK Tripura however expressed his ignorance about doctors’ getting commission. He said adequate measurers have been taken to prevent brokers from entering the hospital, he said.
Khagrachhari Civil Surgeon Dr Abu Taher admitted that most pathological laboratories and clinics are running without any registration. He formed a five-member committee to look into the matter, he said.


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