“Fire!”, “Leave immediately!” -- such screams were ricocheting off the walls and echoing down the corridors of the children's ward at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, as frenzied patients started running for safety, moments after Thursday's fire broke out at the hospital.
On the second floor of the ward, Tara Miah and Salma Begum were sitting beside their seven-month-old son Tariqul, who was lying on a bed with an oxygen mask on and saline drip injected into his hand.
Soon, a plume of smoke engulfed the entire ward. And then, electricity went off.
Panicked and confused, Tara Miah took off the oxygen mask from his son's face and took him in his arms.
It took the family around 30 minutes to get out of the hospital amid the chaos. By the time they reached a private hospital opposite to Suhrawardy hospital, the baby was no more.
“I couldn't save my son… perhaps, he died in my arms,” said a sobbing Tara Miah yesterday.
“There was chaos everywhere… I lost track of my mother-in-law on the way. I could not even take any of my belongings,” he told The Daily Star over the phone.
Tara Miah, a small trader hailing from Uttar Bilash Khan of Shariatpur, admitted his son to the hospital on February 8, with a sore in his mouth. The couple got married two years ago and Tariqul was their only child.
“Doctors gave us some tests and later said he [Tariqul] had some problem in his liver. They said he would need blood. He was given blood on Sunday and since then, his condition was improving…”
“Then this happened. All is lost now...,” Tara Miah could not finish the sentence.
Ferdawsi A Purna, a duty doctor at the hospital where Tariqul was taken on Thursday, said, relatives brought the baby around 7pm and requested he be provided with an oxygen mask.
“But we found that the child was already no more,” the doctor said.
The family wailed in front of the hospital for around an hour. Afterwards, they went to an adjacent rent-a-car service and booked a car for their home in Shariatpur around 8:30pm on Thursday.
Tariqul was buried at a local graveyard around 9am yesterday.