Patients, particularly the illiterate ones, who come to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for treatment, suffer a lot as they are falling prey to temptation by brokers roaming in the hospital.
Brokers in collusion with some employees of the public hospital are engaged in diverting helpless patients to different clinics and diagnostic centres they are working for, many alleged.Though patients have been experiencing such practice at the hospital for long, the hospital authorities appear to be turning a blind eye to the matter, they said.
Allegations are also rife that a section of employees at the hospital are helping the brokers carry out the unethical practice, caring little about the interest of the patients.
A large number of patients along with their relatives come from different parts of the country for treatment at DMCH but they have to face enormous hassle instead of getting service.
Most of the patients have to go to different diagnostic centres for tests as X-ray, CT scan, ECG and other machines at the hospital have remained out of order for long.
During an investigation by the daily sun, it came to light that brokers working for clinics and diagnostic centres have a free access to every ward of the hospital.
Brokers freely move to different wards of the hospital to collect patients and send them to different clinics and diagnostic centres they are working for.A section of doctors also send patients to clinics in exchange for commission. They give a slip to the patients writing down the name and phone number of the clinic and its representative.
Though some tests can be done at the hospital, doctors, ward boys and nurses often discourage the relatives of the patients from doing it from here.
It was found that brokers roaming around the hospital to collect various samples from the patients. Ansar members also help brokers enter the hospital, it is alleged.
More than 150 brokers of over 50 clinics and diagnostic centres in the capital are active in the country’s biggest public hospital, sources said.
Many outdoor and emergency patients alleged that brokers disturb them in many ways. Brokers force patients to do test at diagnostic centres through them.
Dr Abdul Aziz Khan, Head of the Department of Clinical Pathology at DMCH, said almost all types of tests are done here at government-fixed price. “I do not think patients need to undergo tests outside.”
“If there is a need to undergo any test outside, then they can go to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and Birdem Hospital,” he added.
The hospital authorities have set up close circuit cameras (CC cameras) to stop these illegal activities. But patients are virtually hostage in this cycle.
It is also alleged that the hospital authorities don’t take action though such incidents occur in front of their eyes. As a result, brokers becoming more desperate day by day.
Sources said 200-300 patients at the hospital are advised to do CT scan every day. But only 80 to 100 patients get benefit at the hospital. Other patients have to do CT scan at private clinic.
Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin, director of DMCH, said, “It is not easy to repair or buy new machines. We’ll float tender soon to repair and buy some new machines for our hospital.”
“We are trying to prevent brokers from entering the hospital. It is not possible for us to check it alone. Relatives of the patients must be aware of it.”
“We caught many brokers and handed them over to police. We have a plan to conduct mobile court in DMCH. The number of Ansar members has been raised in the hospital,” he added.