Pharmacy owners in Chattogram said that the stocks of medicines used to treat burn injuries have run out
Hundreds injured in the massive depot fire in Sitakunda area have been sent to Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) and other hospitals in the port city, causing a crisis for medicine and ICU facilities in the city.
Drug stores in front of CMCH usually close after 11pm. When victims injured in the blaze were rushed to the hospital on Saturday night, only six to seven pharmacies were open, resulting in a crisis for burn injury-related medicines.
Relatives of the patients admitted to the burn unit rushed to collect the medicine. Within an hour and a half, the stock of medicines used to treat burn patients ran out. Unable to find a way, the relatives of the patient have been forced to take alternative medicines from the pharmacies. Many went to the port city's Hazari alley to collect medicines.
"Patients with burnt respiratory tract will need an ICU. But the ICUs are not available. For this, several private hospitals have been asked to keep ICUs ready," Chattogram Civil Surgeon Mohammed Elias Chowdhury told The Business Standard (TBS).
"Three people with serious burns have been sent to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). Forty people have been admitted to Parkview Hospital," he said, adding that the ICU of CMH and the city's general hospital have been kept ready; private hospitals have also been requested to keep the ICU ready.
"Usually this many patients with burn injuries do not come at a time. So the drugs in our stock ran out quickly. Since most of the shops were closed, we had to struggle to get the medicines. The medicine crisis will fade away by the morning hopefully when all pharmacies open," said Nur Nabi Belal, owner of Apollo Pharmacy in front of CMCH.
According to pharmacy owners, stocks of Iventi, Optimox, Monigen, Moxiquin, Moxilocin, Neotracin ointment, Polytracin ointment, Neobet ointment, Burna cream, Silcreem, Lubtean, Lacrima Eld, Protear Aprocin ointment have run out.
Raju, who works at Gazi Pharmacy, said the pharmacy ran out of all burn injury-related medicines by 1 am, after that they are to resort to alternatives. They ran out of all relevant medicines by 2 am, he added.
The medicine crisis at night was caused by the large number of burn patients admitted at CMCH, he further said.
"We have never witnessed such an incident. We have had to deal with two issues in order for so many patients to come together in the event of a fire. One is the ICU crisis and the other is the medicine crisis. Due to the non-availability of seats in the ICU, we sent several patients to the Military Hospital and General Hospital after initial treatment, CMCH Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit Registrar Dr Liton Palit told TBS.
"The relatives of the patients could not bring the medicines needed so late at night. They bought medicines made by different companies. Although not of the same quality, the medicines had to be applied. Medications brought for one patient had to be applied to other patients. In the morning, the supply of medicines gradually became normal," he added.
"Fifty percent of the patients admitted to the hospital's burn unit and plastic surgery unit are in a critical state. Several patients have been kept in other wards due to lack of space," Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, head of CMCH's Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit, told TBS.
At least 16 people were killed and more than 200, including cops and fire service officials, injured after a fire broke out at a container depot in Chattogram's Sitakunda on Saturday (4 June) night.
The fire broke out at the BM Container Depot at Bhatiari around 11pm and many containers of chemicals exploded simultaneously. The explosions reportedly shattered the windows of several buildings nearby and were felt from areas as far as 4 kilometres away. Authorities are working to douse the fire.