Every Eid, people unfortunate enough to take ill and get admitted to one of the major public hospitals is faced with the same spectacle. The majority of the doctors and other medical staff are on leave. This time round, it is alleged that many inpatients had to resort to bribery to get the basic services (that are supposed to be free) at three public hospitals including Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). We are appalled to learn that this has happened at DMCH on Eid day where a burn victim once shifted to the general ward wasn't visited by a doctor the whole day as there were none on duty.
Everyone is entitled to take Eid holidays, even doctors and nurses. What is unacceptable is the fact that the premier public hospitals, where most poor patients go to receive treatment, should also have medical personnel on station during the festivities. Apparently, this notion is alien in Bangladesh where everyone wishes to go on holiday at the same time. Hence, the running of services is left to staff that can and do take advantage of the situation as hospital authorities bother little about taking contingency measures during such lean periods.
And regular as clockwork, hospital authorities flatly deny there is any problem. Yet, this has been a chronic problem that occurs during important holidays and pretending that they do not occur is medical negligence. They continue to happen because of lack of accountability, and all we can hope for is that the ministry will step up and do something about it before the next Eid festivities arrive.